Sberbank pushes further into new tech by launching blockchain lab

Maria Nikolova

The laboratory aims to develop blockchain-based solutions, create product prototypes and carry out pilot projects.

Russia’s banking major Sberbank Rossii PAO (MCX:SBER) is making another move into technology development via the setting up of a blockchain laboratory.

The laboratory will be testing blockchain technologies and will develop blockchain-based solutions. It will also aim to create product prototypes, carry out pilot projects, and implement applied business solutions for Sberbank.

The blockchain laboratory will interact with Sberbank’s other laboratories and will offer its competencies to other market participants through cooperation with start-ups, associations, communities, and alliances. In terms of marketing, the laboratory seeks to popularize blockchain and providing assistance in the preparation of educational programs in this area.

The blockchain laboratory will hire specialists with experience in working with blockchain.

Sberbank has already been a part of more than 20 blockchain-based pilot projects, including joint solutions with Severstal, M.video, and the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS).

In November last year, Sberbank carried out Russia’s first payment transaction using blockchain technology. The transaction used the IBM Blockchain Platform on the basis of HyperLedger Fabric. Sberbank’s partners and participants in the pilot were MegaFon, MegaLabs, Alfa-Bank, and IBM.

Sberbank’s IT infrastructure was used to set up a service for establishing the uniform transaction procedure, the certification centre of the network, and a web app for the client with a personal account section. In addition, Sberbank and Alfa-Bank hosted the nodes of the blockchain network.

Let’s recall that, in October last year, the bank became one of the founders of SBT Venture Fund II. 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. The investment in each project is set to be around $5-10 million.

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