Employees of Russia’s Qiwi to Open Cryptocurrency Investment Bank

Qiwi is Russia's biggest payment company.

Employees of Russian payment company Qiwi are opening a cryptocurrency investment bank in Russia.

The project will be called HASH. It will offer services similar to other investment banks with a focus on virtual currencies. This means that it will find projects, assess them, and offer the opportunity to invest money if appropriate. Project manager Yakov Barinsky said to Kommersant (translated from Russian): “We help companies go through the stage of fundraising. Monetization is classic: we get our commission after the company with our help raised funds in the market.”

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According to the report, after HASH takes a project on it will build its financial model and attract money from international funds.

Barinsky is also the financial director of Qiwi Blockchain Technologies, a subsidiary created in March 2017 to focus on blockchain technology. He said that HASH was created by Qiwi employees but will not be a subsidiary of Qiwi Group.

Qiwi CEO Sergey Solonin said that the project is interesting enough to him that he is considering participating as a strategic investor, but for the time being is observing how it develops.

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HASH is currently preparing its ICO and has already attracted the attention of international funds. Barinksy said that it is currently in talks with ten funds, one of which is worth around $100 million.

Background

Qiwi is a company that offers secure online payments. It has its headquarters in Cyprus but is active in Russia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Romania, Belarus, the United States, Brazil, and Jordan. It has a market capitalisation of about $960 million, and it employs more than 2,000 people.

Qiwi first proposed a ‘bitruble’ back in 2015 but met a lot of official resistance (those same authorities became interested in the idea later), and it was the first Russian company to join R3, a blockchain research consortium of hundreds of major companies, run from New York.

Earlier this month the firm partnered with British mobile phone-based bank Revolut to give the latter access to Russia.

This development can be seen as part of a wider trend of companies opening cryptocurrency-focused investment institutions and funds.

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