Russia awards Atomyze country's first licence to issue digital financial assets

MOSCOW, Feb 3 (Reuters) - The Russian central bank said on Thursday it has given Atomyze Russia, a blockchain platform, a licence to issue and exchange digital financial assets, marking the first firm to be legally able to do so in Russia.

The central bank has previously advocated a complete ban on trading and mining of cryptocurrencies, citing threats to financial stability, citizens' wellbeing and its monetary policy sovereignty.

President Vladimir Putin, however, has called for a balanced approach, asking the finance, economy, digital and interior ministries, the FSB security service, and the central bank to work on a plan for how to treat the sector.

Russian authorities are working on ways to regulate cryptocurrencies, according to a document seen by Reuters.

The central bank said in a statement that Atomyze was now authorised to conduct business in Russia.

Atomyze uses blockchain technologies for so-called tokenisation of real assets, which allows retail investors to buy into precious metals and helps legal entities manage large volumes of such metals.

"Atomyze has become the first platform in Russia to be included by the Bank of Russia into the registry of information systems in which digital financial assets are being emitted," Interros, one of Atomyze's investors and the largest shareholder in nickel producer Norilsk Nickel (GMKN.MM), said in a statement.

The licence will give clients of Atomyze the ability to issue digital assets, while the company will be able to exchange such assets within its platform, the central bank said.

Reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya; writing by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Toby Chopra and Susan Fenton

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