Executives at Qiwi, one of the largest e-payment providers in Russia, are launching a crypto investment bank, called HASH, to advise investors and help domestic companies tokenize their assets once appropriate regulations are in place.
The new enterprise is being launched by senior staff at Qiwi Blockchain Technology – a Qiwi subsidiary formed in March to focus on blockchain development and consulting – and also has financial backing and assistance from the firm.
Branded as “the first crypto investment bank in Russia,” HASH will manage clients’ ICOs, help them build their blockchain networks and raise funds.
The project has already partnered with an array of international fintech companies, including Bitfury Capital, Itech, InVenture, Target Global, Hosho, Wings, and RootStock, said Constantine Koltsov, partner at Qiwi Blockchain Technology and head of corporate relationships at HASH.
“We are going to make an international crypto bank providing trading services, research and ICO advisers … When the proper regulation is in place, we are going to help companies from traditional sectors of economy, like natural resources and heavy industry, to raise money through ICOs.”
In particular, HASH will also advise financial institutions on the quality of crypto projects they are considering investing in, since many of them have some apprehension towards ICOs, he said, due to the number of scams on the market.
Koltsov claimed that HASH was already working with a private oil and gas company on launching an ICO to raise $20 million, though he declined to name the firm.
ICOs can be helpful at a time when major Russian banks are under sanctions, and can have difficulty borrowing money from organizations in the West, he said.
As Russia has yet to pass regulations for blockchain and cryptocurrencies, HASH will initially work with projects registered in other jurisdictions, but Russian investors are free to participate in various ICOs with the company’s help, Koltsov said.
The Hash team expects that the Russia’s parliament to pass the bills regulating cryptocurrencies and blockchain this fall. Otherwise, the company will continue focusing on projects in different legal landscapes, he added.
Edit (14:25 June 20 2018): This article has been updated to make clear the relationship between Qiwi, its blockchain subsidiary and HASH.
Qiwi image via Shutterstock