Vladimir Potanin, Russian billionaire and owner of OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel
Vladimir Potanin, Russian billionaire and owner of OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, attends a meeting of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) during Russia Business Week in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, March 19, 2015. Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Russia’s largest producer of refined nickel, Nornickel, has started testing its digital platform for metals trading, Bloomberg reported on 5 December.

According to the report, the company’s platform is based on Hyperledger Fabric, and will allow its users to purchase digital tokens backed by metals, which can then be traded for physical supplies to ensure that metals trading is conducted more efficiently.

The tests will be conducted in collaboration with some of Nornickel’s clients, including physical commodities trading group Trafigura Group Ltd., metals finance and logistics firm Traxys SA, and materials technology and recycling group Umicore SA.

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Nornickel’s CEO, Vladimir Potanin, said that the new platform simply allows the company to package “existing business links” into a “new and modern form”. The platform will also allow the company to cut costs and administration when it comes to tracking materials.

The company has also stated that it aims to have 20 percent of its metals sales go through the new tokens platform, hopefully within the next couple of years.

Potanin has also stated that the platform will most likely first be introduced in places such as the U.S., United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, and Singapore, since Russia has yet to adopt a digital financial assets law.

First revealed in July, Nornickel’s digital platform seems to have been rolled out according to schedule. At the time, the vice-president of Nornickel, Andrey Bugrov, stated that the company was expecting to bring the platform to the market, and begin trading tokens, by the end of 2019.

Even though Russia has yet to take a stand on cryptocurrency-related activities, it will likely ban crypto use in the country to some extent. Recently it became known that the Bank of Russia, the country’s central bank, will support a ban on cryptocurrencies as a means of payment.

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