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Russia’s largest bank joins blockchain trade finance platform

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A subsidiary of Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, has joined a blockchain-based platform for commodity trade finance.

Sberbank Switzerland AG has signed an agreement with Swiss trade finance platform Komgo to apply its blockchain-powered trade finance service.

Representatives from Sberbank Switzerland AG told Cointelegraph that the collaboration with Komgo addresses the growing digitization of trade finance.

Evgeny Kravchenko, head of trade finance at Sberbank, outlined that commodity trade finance is a strategic business of Sberbank Switzerland AG. According to the executive, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States’ countries are the company’s key markets, while Sberbank Switzerland AG also supports trade flows globally.

“In recent years, trade finance digitalization has accelerated dramatically, following the needs of market players,” Kravchenko said, adding that Komgo’s trade finance will further expand the efficiency of Sberbank’s operations.

As previously reported, Komgo is a decentralized trade financing startup that is developing a commodity trade finance platform based on the Ethereum blockchain. One of its purposes is to accelerate trade finance transactions as well as allow stakeholders to track a deal with instant success to commodity trade information.

Sberbank has been aggressively tapping the blockchain industry recently. As Cointelegraph reported in August, Sberbank is working with a major Russia-based airline company, S7 Airlines, to introduce a blockchain-based ticket sale system. The bank is also reportedly considering launching its own stablecoin pegged one-to-one to the Russian ruble.



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Tiger King star and convicted animal abuser to launch NFT from prison

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The nonfungible token industry isn’t over yet as “The Tiger King” star Joe Exotic is set to launch his own NFT drop from prison with some external assistance.

New York-founded cryptocurrency club More announced Tuesday its foray into the celebrity NFT space with an auction on behalf of former zoo operator and TV star Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, known professionally as Joe Exotic.

With support of Rozenfeld Meyer & Susman’ entertainment attorney Brad Small, the convicted animal abuser plans to sell some of his belongings alongside digital items and tokens from a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas. The physical items include Maldonado-Passage’s favorite pistol and holster, jackets commonly worn on the “Tiger King” series, and authentic audio recordings from prison.

Starting this Friday, the public can bid on “The Tiger King” NFT auction hosted on major NFT marketplace Mintable. The auction winners will acquire physical items with authentication papers as well as 3D digital models of each tangible collectible.

The Tiger King was convicted on multiple felony counts, among them murder-for-hire and violating laws protecting endangered species. Maldonado-Passage killed five tigers to make room for other cats at his petting zoo in Oklahoma. He was also convicted for soliciting two hitmen to kill his sworn enemy and animal sanctuary owner Carole Baskin. 

According to National Geographic, Maldonado-Passage even attempted to broker the illegal sale of lion cubs on the telephone as he was awaiting trial in Grady County Jail. 

Maldonado-Passage views the NFT drop as a chance to give back to his loyal fan base. “It’s great to have a voice via blockchain technology and I’m honored to be the first to kickoff MORE’s celebrity NFTs,” he said, adding, “Whether you love me or hate me for what you think I’ve done, there’s no doubt that everyone wants a piece of The Tiger King!”

More CEO and founder Peter Klamka said that the initiative will help the firm to drive the mainstream adoption of blockchain technology, noting that the NFT industry provides people with access to authentic unique goods that they would otherwise not be able to access. “There’s no better way to engage the mainstream in blockchain technology than to tie in familiar faces and names,” Klamka noted.

 More did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.