Russia’s Telecom Giant MTS Invests $11.7M in Blockchain Trade-Finance Service: Report

MTS, one of Russia’s biggest telecoms companies, bought control of trade-finance platform Factorin, the Kommersant newspaper reported Tuesday.

According to the publication, the 51% stake cost $11.7 million. MTS bought the share from Factorin’s parent company, venture fund Digital Horizon, which retains a 25% holding. The rest is held by the Factorin team, according to the publication.

According to Factorin’s official website, the platform is used by 41 banks and companies in Russia, with $230 million deals going through each month. 

MTS spokesperson Alexey Merkutov told CoinDesk the purchase will allow the company to broaden its range of business-to-business services for corporate clients, especially in fintech. Fintech products are becoming more important for the overall business of MTS, Merkutov said.

“In the Q1 of 2021, fintech products brought $203 million in additional revenue, which is comparable to the additional revenue by our telecom and retail business,” Merkutov said. “Fintech is now one of our main strategic branches.” MTS already offers trade-finance services to clients of its MTS Bank, and Factorin might be integrated into this ecosystem in the future.

MTS reported serving 86 million of cellphone users and earning $6.7 billion in 2020. According to the annual report, 2.5 million people use its bank and 2,000 use its enterprise cloud computing services. In late 2020, the company launched its own mobile investment app for retail users and a neobank, NUUM, the report said.