As if anyone needed another example, even those who are most opposed to bitcoin can no longer deny the usefulness of the innovative technology behind it. While various sections of the Russian government and financial establishment have taken a very harsh anti-bitcoin stance recently, such as the Russian Ministry of Finance reportedly proposing four years of hard labor for the crime of using cryptocurrencies, the country’s top regulator now shows interest in blockchain.
The Bank of Russia issued a communique on Sunday saying it will be engaged in the analysis and evaluation of possibilities regarding the application of new financial technologies including blockchain. To this end, the Russian Central Bank has established a working group on the analysis of advanced technologies and innovations in the financial market. Among the priority issues is the study of distributed ledger technologies, as well as new developments in mobile, payments, and other areas.
“The development of modern financial markets is inseparable from the development of financial technology,” said Deputy Chairman of the Bank of Russia Olga Skorobogatov, who leads the group. “Financial services quickly digitizes new business models and ecosystems, and market participants, changing the behavior of consumers of financial services. High-tech financial markets need a high-tech regulator, which must also thoroughly understand the new financial processes and technologies and their possible application in practice,” she added.
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The Bank of Russia’s working group plans to hold regular meetings with representatives of banks, self-regulatory organizations and other financial market participants to discuss various aspects of the use of new financial technologies.
In December 2015 it was reported that Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, wants to join the R3 global consortium of banks collaboratively developing blockchain technology to streamline payments and securities trades.