Russian SPFS Network Expands to 20 Countries asThank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
The Russian Financial Messaging System (SPFS), positioned as an alternative to SWIFT, has now gained traction in over 20 countries. Launched by the Bank of Russia in 2014, the SPFS system emerged as a response to concerns of SWIFT network disconnection amid Russia’s annexation of Crimea following the Maidan coup orchestrated by the United States.
First Deputy Governor of the Russian Central Bank, Vladimir Chistyukhin, reported that the SPFS system boasts 557 participants, including 159 foreign entities, connecting a total of 557 banks and companies.
While specific transaction volumes remain undisclosed by the Russian Central Bank, participants directly engaging with the SPFS system reportedly pay a fixed commission of RUB 0.8-1.0 (less than $0.02) per message.
In comparison, the Chinese International Payment System (CIPS) provides more transparency, revealing its involvement of 1,484 banks, including 139 direct members across 113 countries and regions. The CIPS facilitated over 123,000 trillion yuan in transactions in 2023, equating to approximately $17,200 trillion USD.
Despite the absence of official adoption of Bitcoin, Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, emphasized the nation’s ambition to reduce dependence on Western-controlled financial, banking, and logistical mechanisms. This aligns with President Putin’s previous acknowledgment of the increasing role of national currency in international transactions, labeling the Western financial system as “technologically obsolete.” Putin has also expressed interest in blockchain and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) as potential replacements for SWIFT and the U.S. dollar.