Russia’s richest man launches cryptocurrency

Russia’s richest man Vladimir Potanin has announced his plans for a blockchain-based platform and cryptocurrency after getting the nod from the Russian Central Bank. New digital tokens will allow holders to purchase metals, book air tickets and transfer ski passes from Potanin’s own ski businesses. The blockchain platform aims to speed up transactions, trim paperwork and eliminate middlemen.

According to the report, the platform, called Atomyze, will also be available in the United States and Switzerland but it will be limited to institutional clients. The platform is expected to go live by the end of the year following the enactment of a Russian law on digital financial assets.

The tycoon expects his cryptocurrency to have the greatest impact on metals. Norlisk Nickel, one of the world’s top producers of palladium, platinum, nickel and copper, will be the first to test the digital tokens. Potanin is the president and owns just over one-third of the metals producer.

Initially, Potanin’s coins will reportedly be backed by palladium, cobalt and copper with plans to expand to more metals. Several other companies are planning to test Atomyze as well, including Singapore-based commodity trading Trafigura Group; Luxembourg-based financial and logistical solutions provider for mining and energy, Traxys; and Brussels-based multinational materials technology company Umicore.

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