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‘Commercial Blockchains Just Two Years Away,’ Says Russia’s Largest Bank CEO

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by Polina Chernykh · 3 min read
‘Commercial Blockchains Just Two Years Away,’ Says Russia’s Largest Bank CEO

The head of Russia’s leading bank unveiled his views on the future of the blockchain technology while speaking at the Real Estate Market Innovation Conference.

Sberbank CEO, Herman Gref, considers that the industrial use of the distributed ledger technology in Russia will be possible by the end of 2019, news website Prime reported.

Although the timeframe is a little optimistic, Gref noted, it was nonetheless workable. “Two to two-and-a-half years is the timeframe in which we could be talking about seeing Blockchain technology commercially operating,” he said.

Currently, Sberbank is working on developing its own use cases of the technology as part of the working group formed to explore innovative technologies in the financial market, including blockchain applications.

Gref also noted that prime minister Dmitry Medvedev gave green light to the creation of the group for studying the distributed ledger use cases. “The prime minister of the Russian Federation has signed off on the creation of a special working group, headed by First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, focusing on ways to assimilate Blockchain technology,” he said.

Meantime, Gref added this a major step forward by the government of Russia in promoting the use of the technology. He also noted that blockchain would have an impact on literally all industries.

Last month, Sberbank announced that it is preparing to launch a new blockchain system, called Digital Ecosystem, in Q1 of 2017. The platform is designed to facilitate the exchange of documents between organisations. The initiative involves Russian airline company Aeroflot, coal producer Russian Coal and ForteInvest.

A few days ago, Mvideo, one of the largest Russian electronic retailers, announced it successfully completed a pilot blockchain project, which is claimed to be the first of its kind in Russia. As part of the initiative launched together with Sberbank, the company conducted a trial of the blockchain-based platform that was used to verify transactions. With the blockchain technology, Mvideo noted, the delivery process is completely automated, what eliminates the risk of data breach.

Sberbank is one of the largest advocates of blockchain in Russia. In 2015, the bank announced the intention to join the global blockchain consortium R3 established to explore bitcoin’s underlying technology.

Herman Gref is an active supporter of virtual currency and the distributed ledger technology. As he previously stated, the blockchain can be applied in various industries, from state governance to finance sector, and shoud not be banned by regulators.

The potential of the blockchain is being recognized by other government officials in Russia. Earlier, deputy finance minister Alexey Moiseev said that the technology is relevant for the development of the e-commerce industry.

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