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Russia’s largest bank buys 5,000 blockchain ATMs where cryptocurrencies can be mined

May 28, 2020

The largest bank in Russia, Sberbank has requested an offer to provide 4,917 ATMs with a built-in graphics card able to support “blockchain operations”.

Cointelegraph spoke to two experts who said that The most obvious use case for a blockchain-optimized graphics card is cryptocurrency mining.

Sberbank is the oldest and largest bank in Russia and it has almost 44% of all personal deposits in the country. The company operates 14,200 branches and 77,000 ATMs nationwide. The state is its largest shareholder and its president and CEO, Herman Gref, was Russia’s former economy minister. He is known for being a big proponent of new technologies, including blockchain technology.

The world’s first blockchain ATMs?

Russia’s largest bank buys 5,000 blockchain ATMs where cryptocurrencies can be minedRussia’s largest bank buys 5,000 blockchain ATMs where cryptocurrencies can be mined

The highest bid for the offer is USD 108,501,718.05, which corresponds to USD 22,066.65 per ATM. One of the technical requirements for these ATMs is that they are equipped with a graphics card::

“Graphics card with support for Nvidia Cuda for OS for image recognition and possible operation of the blockchain”.

However, Bitcoin (BTC) ATMs are not new Regular bank employees with blockchain technology are unusual. The big question is: why does an ATM need a graphics card that can do some blockchain operations? There are multiple possibilities …

A cryptorbble or a bug?

The most obvious use case is cryptocurrency mining. Could Sberbank publish its own cryptocurrency or will the Russian government use the bank’s vast network to distribute a cryptocurrency?

A much less interesting possible explanation is that the description of the tender document contains only one error And the graphics card is only required for image recognition, which would make sense given the fact that these ATMs also have biometric authentication.

The registration of ATM transactions in the blockchain

Matvey Voytov is the marketing director for the blockchain platform Waves Enterprise, which has examined various initiatives with companies and the Russian government. He told Cointelegraph that Blockchain technology could be used to record user ATM transactions.

I couldn’t imagine a blockchain use case for a graphics card outside of mining. Even so, considers the issue of a CBDC or Sberbank’s own cryptocurrency to be unlikely and considers an error in the tender document to be a more likely scenario. At the same time, he noted that the Russian tax authority recently launched a blockchain platform for accelerated loan issuance for small businesses.

Could be used to mine old coins

Alexander Chepurnoy, co-founder of the Ergo blockchain platform, also struggled to find use cases for a graphics card that blockchain can run outside of mining:

“In addition to mining, it could potentially be used to process some crypto-algorithms, but I have no idea why an ATM would need it.”

Said The card could not be used effectively to mine Bitcoin, but it could tackle Altcoin miningfor example from Ergo (EFYT), Grin (GRIN) or Ravencoin (RVN).

Speculation corner

If Russia plans to issue a CBDC, Sberbank is likely to be the first bank to find out.. There’s no better way to spread it than through the bank’s vast network that reaches every corner of the vast country. Perhaps these new ATMs could become part of the huge mining network that supports the new cryptocurrency …

The Russian lawmaker recently submitted a bill that would severely punish the illegal rotation of digital assets. A possible justification could lay the foundation for a licensed cryptocurrency. In Russia as in China, the urgency to issue a CBDC is much greater than in any western country. There is a desire to circumvent the US-dominated international financial system. Sberbank itself has been subjected to western sanctions.

Speculation aside, A simple mistake in the tender document is still a useful explanation.

Cointelegraph asked Sberbank for a comment, but did not receive an answer in time for publication.