Russia's Nornickel May Roll Out Stablecoin in 2019

Norilsk Nickel is planning a stablecoin backed by its metals, the launch tentatively set for next year.

Russian metals and mining giant Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel) may launch a stablecoin as early as next year, local business news outlet Kommersant reports.

According to Nornickel CEO Vladimir Potanin, the company intends to introduce a stablecoin backed by its metals. Although the launch is expected in 2019, the exact timeframe will depend on "many factors."

This project as an attempt to design a crypto asset which can provide the much-desired price stability in a highly volatile market, justifying the “stablecoin” label, Potanin said in an interview for Kommersant. He also emphasized the relation to traditional assets and real value due to the coin’s peg to Nornickel's metals.

This alternative as an effective way to get "cheap financing" since traditional funding methods have become rather complicated and costly due to sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries, Potanin stated further. He hopes that metal-pegged stablecoins may attract "totally new" investors "with substantial aggregate capital."

The billionaire entrepreneur believes that turning to digital technologies might offer Russian companies good protection against sanctions and increase the flexibility of the national economy by allowing a room for "extra maneuvers."

"Digital assets tend to create a more democratic and friendly cyberspace, which is subject to sanctions to a far lesser extent than the traditional economy and financial markets," he explained.

Potanin also told the newspaper about his other plans, which include the launch of a crypto exchange and crypto derivatives. These are projects he intends to develop at another company under his control, Interros This Russian private investment group holds large stakes in numerous sectors of the national economy.

However, Potanin said he could not rule out launching these projects abroad. The decision would depend on the state of Russia’s crypto market and the latest developments in its oversight since regulatory issues and the legal status of digital assets remain a pressing question in the country.

Stablecoins seem to be in vogue now, with large cryptocurrency exchanges and financial startups eager to launch their own, backed either by fiat currency or a commodity.  However, this trend may cause problems, starting with frozen accounts to undermining the core value of the crypto economy.