Vladimir Potanin
Vladimir Potanin. Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Russia’s largest producer of refined nickel, Nornickel, is one step closer to issuing tokens backed by metals on Atomyze, a blockchain-based trading platform for industrial assets and commodities, which was launched on 25 February.

Owned by one of the richest men in Russia, Vladimir Potanin, the platform was launched in test mode only. One of the first companies to issue tokens through Atomyze will be Potanin’s mining and smelting firm Nornickel, and its partners commodity trading company Trafigura, metal refinery firm Umicore and supply chain consultancy Traxys. All of the companies above have been involved in the early-stage trials of the platform, which began last December.

Based on IBM’s Hyperledger Fabric blockchain technology, Atomyze aims to speed up transactions, allow for surplus supply trading, and overall making the sales process easier and more flexible. Speaking to Bloomberg on Tuesday, Potanin said that some of his other businesses, such as the Nordstar airline and the Rosa Khutor resort in Sochi, could also tokenize their services using the platform in the future.

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The platform is expected to begin commercial operations in Russia by the end of this year, but only if the country has passed its regulations clarifying the status of digital assets. While Atomyze will be available to only businesses in the United States and Switzerland, it might be available to consumers in Russia.

The first tokens issued by Atomyze will be backed by palladium, cobalt and copper mined by Nornickel, which expects to tokenize around 10 percent of its overall sales volume of production in the first year. Last year, Nornickel revealed that it aims to have 20 percent of its metals sales go through the new platform in the coming years.

During the launch of Atomyze, Potanin said in a statement:

“Nornickel will be the first company among the extractive industry leaders to begin trading using tokens. Nornickel is interested in this project because it will enable the Company to popularize palladium and other metals by transitioning to digital trading methods.”

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