In a surprising move, Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, has announced its spending more than $100m on almost 5,000 blockchain enabled ATMs that have the ability to mine cryptocurrencies.
Russia’s Main Bank Is Buying 5,000 Mineable Blockchain ATMs
Russia’s largest bank has decided that it sees a future in mining crypto and has invested a huge amount of money in ATMs with in-built graphics cards, that are officially capable of supporting ‘blockchain operations’, which can only mean mining.
Sberbank is Russia’s oldest and largest bank and holds almost 44% of all personal deposits in the country. There are 14,200 branches and 77,000 ATMs nationwide, and the state is its biggest shareholder.
The Chairman and CEO of Sberbank is Herman Gref, who is Russia’s former minister for Economics and Trade, is known for having a keen interest in new emerging technologies.
Bitcoin ATMs Not New, But Mineable ATMs?
Bitcoin ATMs are not new, and there are thousands around the world, but a bank-owned ATM, and one that requires a graphics card to carry out ‘blockchain operations’ is a first.
Although it hasn’t been confirmed by the bank that it will be used for mining cryptocurrencies, why else would a bank want an ATM with a graphics card capable of carrying out blockchain operations?
Which Crypto Will They Mine?
Are they going to mine BTC? Well, with a GPU the ATMs won’t be very competitive, but if they're to mine ETH, then they stand more of a chance. And with Putin’s known interest in Ethereum, it does make sense that a partly state-sponsored bank would opt for Ethereum.
Or might the bank ATMs might helping the government to issue its own cryptocurrecy – a crypto-rouble? This is unlikely because a government issued- CBDC may as well be a pre-mined shitcoin to save on costs.
It’s unlikely the Russian government would fear the backlash from its people for creating a closed, and centralized shitcoin that can be manipulated by the few. And it wouldn’t be a good investment by the bank either.
Mining a government coin, means it’s not going to rise in value, and if anything will only fall in value over time. Therefore, mining ETH or other altcoins is most likely.
These sentiments were echoed by Alexander Chepurnoy, co-founder of Ergo blockchain platform. He also struggled to think of any use cases for the blockchain capable graphic card outside of mining.
‘Besides mining, perhaps it could be used for processing of some cryptographic algorithms, but I have no idea why an ATM would need it,’ said Chepurnoy. ‘The graphics card can not be effectively used to mine Bitcoin, but it could tackle altcoin mining.’
Although it’s not been stated clearly that the bank is getting into mining cryptocurrencies, the fact they’re ordering ATMs capable of carrying out blockchain operations is a huge sign of their intention.
A government issued crypto is highly unlikely to be mined, and with GPU not very competitive when it comes to mining BTC, it leaves ETH and a few other altcoins the most likely.
Sberbank is Russia’s biggest bank, and the state is its biggest stakeholder. This is huge news for the space, and as time goes by I expect to see more banks, not just from Russia, but everywhere get into mining this way.
Author: Tommy Limpitlaw