Sberbank, FAS commence blockchain tests

Maria Nikolova

The practical implementation of this new technology is delayed due to unsolved matters like the slow interaction among the blockchain participants, according to Sberbank’s Lev Khasis.

Blockchain continues to conquer new areas in the financial services segment, with the latest example provided by Sberbank Rossii PAO (MCX:SBER). Sberbank’s First Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board. Lev A. Khasis told TASS on Saturday that the bank is cooperating with the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) on a distributed ledger technology (DLT) project.

The blockchain technology has a big potential, he said and added that the practical implementation is delayed due to unsolved matters such as the slow interaction of blockchain participants.

Mr Khasis said he expects that DLT solutions will be able to compete with traditional ones not earlier than in two or three years. He also mentioned that the bank is working on a number of blockchain projects.

In October this year, the setting up of SBT Venture Fund II was announced, with Sberbank being among the founders. The managing partner of the new fund is FortRoss Ventures.

The main task of SBT Venture Fund II is to invest in technology companies. It aims to help such companies in the development of their services in the Russian market, as well as in finding the right experts. The fund will focus its investments on projects related to artificial intelligence, Internet of things, cloud technologies, marketplaces, financial technologies, as well as blockchain.

Unlike cryptocurrencies, blockchain and DLT are mostly welcome by Russian authorities. Whereas the Central Bank of Russia has slammed cryptocurrencies, it said in September it was exploring the potential applications of technologies like blockchain.

Earlier this month, it became clear that the Russian Duma is planning another study concerning blockchain. The Financial Market Committee has proposed the commissioning of a study on the ways to regulate blockchain applications in the Russian financial market. The study is set to take place in 2018.

This is not the first time that the Russian parliament shows its curiosity about distributed ledger technologies. In September this year, the Duma set aside RUB 2.5 million for expert research into “Regulation of the implementation and practical adoption of contemporary financial technologies”. A total of 18 applications were received for the project. The applicant that got the highest score and will get a contract with the Russian Parliament is the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation. Its project requires funding of approximately RUB 1.88 million.

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