According to reports, Russia’s Sberbank plans to join the R3-led international blockchain consortium.

Sberbank, Russia’s biggest bank, intends to partner with the global consortium of 30 banks and financial institutions led by New York-based R3, reads Kommersant.

The consortium was established in September, and consists of companies that combine their knowledge to develop various blockchain applications. The project involves Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Citi, Barclays, UBS, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, Royal Bank of Scotland and others. Initially, the project involved only nine banks, but in just two weeks R3 managed to bring in additional 13 banks.

The partnership with the globe’s major banks shows widespread support for innovations, such as distributed ledger technology, across the financial services community. The consortium is targeted at developing secure and adaptable world standards for the use of the technology in the financial industry.

Leve Khasis, Sberbank’s First Deputy Chairman of the Management Board, noted that the bank is watching closely the evolution of the technology behind Bitcoin. He also said that the bank is looking into the documentation pertaining to R3 and pending a final decision. However, he didn’t negate the possibility of joining the consortium. Khasis specified that Sberbank will be the first bank to use blockchain solutions as soon as the industry adopts it:

“R3 [was created] in order to develop protocols, standards and technology. As soon as [these] are implemented, we believe we [Sberbank] will be among the first to take part in it.”

It is evident that the technology behind Bitcoin holds huge potential, which has already been recognized by a number of financial institutions. “Blockchain is a bit like gluten,” said Tim Swanson, director for market research at R3CEV, the company which has recently launched a blockchain project supported by the globe’s major banks. “Everyone is talking about it but no one knows what it is in great detail,” Swanson told Financial Times.

However, it’s necessary to say that the russian bank doesn’t demonstrate interest in bitcoin or cryptocurrencies. “Cryptocurrencies are irrelevant here, it [blockchain] is a simpler, faster and more reliable accounting method,” comments Mr. Khasis.

In contrast, the consortium members are developing cryptocurrencies. So, UBS is currently working with Clearmatics Technologies to develop a new digital settlement coin based on the digital currency. The currency is expected to accelerate the trade of assets and lower operational risks. The project has gained support from such investors as Route 66 Ventures LLC, Nyca Partners and Tellurian Capital Management LLP.

Not so long ago, one of the globe’s largest banking companies, Goldman Sachs, announced that it created its own digital currency for trading securities, bonds and other financial assets that is aimed at facilitating the trade of stocks.

In fact, the Russian government was planning even to ban bitcoin in the past. This year the Russian Finance Ministry proposed a 4-year prison sentence for Bitcoin users, reads CryptoCoin News.

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