State-owned Russian bank Sberbank is buying blockchain-enabled ATMs that might be used for cryptocurrency mining.
The largest financial institution in Russia, Sberbank recently announced a tender for purchasing nearly 5000 new ATMs. One of the technical requirements, that the providers have to meet, is the ability to incorporate graphic cards.
According to local news portal Izvestia, the maximum bid for acquiring cryptocurrency ATMs sits at $108.5 million. Since Sberbank intends to purchase 4917 ATMs, the price will reach up to $22.000 for each of them.
The bank holds nearly 44% of all Russian personal deposits and currently is the biggest bank of Russia. Since Sberbank is owned by the state, its CEO Herman Gref, the former Minister of Economics and Trade, is known for his support for innovative technologies like blockchain.
The puzzle of crypto mining option
Since Russians are already able to use cryptocurrency ATMs, the traditional ATMs with the integrated graphic cards that support blockchain technology are still unusual. Since graphic cards (GPU) are one of the hardware options used to mine cryptocurrencies, the fact thus sparked the discussion, if these cards will be really be used for crypto mining.
Some of the industry insiders guess, that blockchain-enabled ATMS might be used for cryptocurrency mining or processing cryptographic algorithms, although there is still unclear why ATMs should be doing that. Others suspect, that the blockchain might be used to record the transactions, that users do via the ATMs.
In the meantime, the Izvestia news portal cites experts, that explain the Sberbank’s initiative as a will to “reduce the physical contacts of citizens with plastic cards during the pandemic, as well as the need to introduce new technologies to reduce costs and attract customers”.
Wider adoption perspectives unclear
Despite the fact that Russian national bank plans to create the network of ATMs with the cryptocurrency mining option, the perspectives of wider crypto adoption in the country remain uncertain.
The Dailycoin has reported previously, that various institutions of Russia have been considering the regulation of cryptocurrencies, however, cannot find the consensus. As it is known, the country’s central bank is against organizing the cryptocurrency issuance and production in Russia.
At the same time, the local politicians are moving to criminalize cryptocurrency transactions by new legislation of controlling digital currencies. The local parliament members recently offered to introduce financial and criminal liability for violating the law, that prohibits payments in cryptocurrencies. The offer includes fines of 2 million rubles ($28.240) and up to 7 years of imprisonment.
Meanwhile, the major players of the cryptocurrency industry show support for their Russian audience. The cryptocurrency wallet, exchange, and blockchain data provider Blockchain.com recently announced the plans to add Russian ruble (RUB) into its platform in the nearest time. The decision will be made in order to meet the needs of the growing number of Russians trading on the Blockchain.com platform. When added, Ruble (RUB) will be the fifth fiat currency available on the platform next to the USD, EUR, GBP, and TRY.