Meet the Russian Oligarch Launching a Metal-Backed Crypto Token

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The TakeawayVladimir Potanin is used to dealing in hard realities.The billionaire oligarch started his business empire in the Wild East days of the 1990s, when the assets of the old Soviet Union were up for grabs and opportunistic entrepreneurs could make mega-roubles if they were in the right place at the right time.The son of a foreign trade official, Potanin authored the infamous loans-to-shares program that allowed a group of businessmen to buy Russia’s key industrial entities cheaply, later becoming the richest people in the country. He went on to build Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel), one of the world’s largest producers of palladium and refined nickel.Potanin’s wealth is made of metal. But last week, sitting in a luxury New York hotel, his mind was on more immaterial things – like digitized tokens and distributed ledgers.Looking relaxed in a polo shirt and blazer, Potanin, now 58, discussed how to represent metals as…

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