Russia’s Prime Minister orders exploration of blockchain tech potential

Maria Nikolova

The Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications will have to explore blockchain tech applications in Russia’s economy.

Russia seems to be warming up to new fintech solutions, with the nation’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev joining the ranks of the supporters of blockchain technology.

Mr Medvedev has instructed Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications and the Ministry of Economic Development to explore the possible applications of blockchain technology during the preparation of the “Digital Economy” program, RIA Novosti reports.

Russia’s Prime Minister noted that the technology had gained popularity in the financial services sector and that the ministers should study its potential applications in state governance and economy.

The supportive stance of Russia’s government regarding blockchain use comes less than a week after Russian media reported that payments services provider Qiwi PLC (NASDAQ:QIWI) had set up a subsidiary called Qiwi Blockchain Technologies (QBT). The new business will develop products based on the blockchain technology.

Qiwi is known for its push into the crypto currency field. In September 2015, the plans of the payment services provider to launch its own crypto currency, the BitRuble, were announced. The new currency was said to be based on the blockchain technology.

In February 2016, the Bank of Russia , which opposes the use of Bitcoin, showed the first signs of softening its stance regarding new technologies associated with virtual currencies by announcing the formation of a group that would analyse the innovations and promising technologies in the financial market. Among the priority questions for the group are the new developments in the mobile and payment areas, along with the study of distributed ledger technologies (like blockchain).

Even Russia’s Finance Ministry seems to be relaxing its push for introducing tough penalties for Bitcoin-related activities. In January this year, Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseyev said that the Bank of Russia and the Federal Financial Monitoring Service did not see any threats from the use of crypto currencies. At that point, the implementation of the “anti-Bitcoin law” was put on hold.

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