Russia’s Sberbank and the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) have announced a pilot project to enable document exchange on the blockchain, one of the key technologies behind Bitcoin.
‘Digital Ecosystem’ Project Taps Blockchain Tech
The “Digital Ecosystem” project aims to study distributed document storage. This can potentially make the process much faster and more reliable compared to traditional methods, Tass reports.
Director of distributed services at Sberbank, Stepan Kuznetsov, explained:
The innovative aspect of the Digital Ecosystem project is that no intermediary communications provider is required when transferring documents.
“Using network participants instead can make the process more convenient and cut costs,” he added.
FAS is a federal-level executive governmental body that oversees antitrust law execution. Together with Sberbank, the two organizations have developed what they call an “electronic communications model,”. It can store encrypted documents, exchanged and signed with electronic signatures.
This project, however, is not limited to just two organizations. Blockchain hype has infected other notable Russian businesses. These include some of Russia’s biggest companies such as Aeroflot airlines, Russian Coal and ForteInvest, who are also looking to benefit from Bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology.
Russia Moves Past Bitcoin Ban
The news follows Sberbank CEO Herman Gref recently warning an audience of finance executives and state officials at the Moscow Financial Forum that Russia risks falling behind in technological innovation if virtual currencies are banned.
“If barriers are put up at the first stage, then we could lose the second and third stages and will always be behind. Frontrunners are already beginning to emerge in blockchain technology,” he stated.
Deputy Finance Minister, Alexei Moiseev, appears to have heeded the message. He has since reversed his stance despite spearheading a proposal to ban Bitcoin and other “surrogate currencies” in Russia.
“All of this does not pose much of a danger to the public, as it has not taken on a mass character that could pose a threat to our financial system right now,” Moiseev told the press. “In the future, it could possibly emerge given that it is not regulated.”
Additionally, Sberbank’s headquarters in Moscow recently became one of the few places in Russia where people can spend Bitcoin to buy espresso and croissants. And though the coffee shop is an independent vendor, the ability to use a “surrogate currency” at the main office of Russia’s biggest bank certainly bodes well for the future of Bitcoin in Russia.
Do you think this will open the floodgates for Bitcoin and blockchain development in Russia? Lets us know in the comments below!
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