According to Russian billionaire Potanin, tokens could replace cryptocurrencies

Tokens and a digital ruble initiative, according to Russia’s second-richest man, will allow the country’s crypto-skeptical central bank to promote new technologies without the risks associated with currencies like Bitcoin.

Billionaire Vladimir Potanin is an investor in Atomyze, which uses blockchain to convert real assets such as metal and homes into easily exchangeable tokens. The company’s Russian unit received a licence this month that allows the platform to issue digital assets and offer trading.

“Unlike some cryptocurrencies, platforms like Atomyze provide consumers with high-quality and secure digital goods and may push untrustworthy products out of the market,” Potanin said in a Moscow interview.

Potanin’s stance is similar to that of the Bank of Russia, which supports the development of digital financial assets while advocating for a total ban on mining and trading cryptocurrencies, which it believes pose a threat to the country’s financial system. The government supports regulating and taxing digital currencies, and President Vladimir Putin has urged officials to find a middle ground.

According to Potanin, the evolution of digital assets, tokenization, and the central bank’s digital ruble programme may render the crypto debate obsolete. He claims that regulators are concerned about crypto and stablecoins because they are uncontrolled currency emissions, whereas a digital asset or token is similar to a contract that allows customers to obtain a product or service in digital form via blockchain, an online ledger that tracks and verifies every transaction or change.

“Metal coins were replaced by paper money, and transactions went cashless,” Potanin explained. “Digital financial assets are simply the next step.”

Atomyze was founded two years ago by Potanin’s Interros holding, which was looking for a way to make metal trading more efficient. Potanin owns the majority of MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC, the world’s largest producer of refined nickel and palladium, which has been offering metals-linked tokens to industrial clients and through exchange-traded commodities on several European exchanges since 2020.

According to Potanin, the platform could also be used to sell other services and goods. He stated that Interros intends to invest up to $1 billion in Atomyze and other technology projects, which could include banks and digital exchanges.

According to Potanin, Atomyze may offer the same service as it does elsewhere in Russia, including the issuance of tokens linked to metals. He also stated that the company intends to test its applications in real estate in Norilsk, a city of 180,000 people located in the Arctic Circle.

The programme could allow a unit of the Norilsk-based miner to offer tokens to employees and other residents in order to increase their liquidity and mobility, as well as develop a token-linked mortgage programme with Societe Generale SA’s Rosbank. When people decide to relocate, they will be able to sell their properties for tokens and exchange them for money or a home in a different city, according to Potanin.

Interros is also in discussions with the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg about offering non-fungible tokens for its art collection that could be used to fund restoration, according to Potanin.


Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.

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