A group of banks in Russia have announced their intention to join a Blockchain Consortium that was recently proposed on the basis of a newly signed mutual memorandum, as Russia’s central bank has just said that it is testing a blockchain messaging system.
Payments provider QIWI Group had previously announced plans for the Russian Blockchain Consortium effort, which has apparently now picked up some significant backing from regional players.
In addition to QIWI, Accenture, BINBANK, MDM Bank, Bank Otkritie, and Tinkoff Bank, have all expressed their intent to join the blockchain initiative, as unveiled during a conference in St. Petersburg.
The news follows after over 30 entities joined the Shenzhen Blockchain Consortium in China, as reported by Finance Magnates at the end of last week.
The banking business is undergoing a rapid new technology-caused transformation as we see the emergence of new areas in the banking business.
Russian banks chime in
Bank Otkritie’s director of innovation, Alexey Blagirev, commented regarding the development: “Collaboration with major players in the banking sector and the participation of the regulator will allow us to create and test new approaches, such as joint settlements, simplifying the customer identification procedures.
Commenting in an official statement, Sergey Solonin, CEO of QIWI Group, said: “Creation of consortium in Russia is our response to the rapidly growing interest in innovative technologies that can lead the economy, business and daily life of a person to a completely new level of interaction and confidence.”
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Mr. Solonin added: “I’m convinced that the Consortium, which brought together the Russia’s largest financial company, is able to become an effective platform for multilateral cooperation in exploration, launching innovations and their implementations in financial services.”
St. Petersburg Conference
Hosted by the country’s central bank, the XXV International Financial Congress had just taken place through July 1st, where Bank of Russia governor Elvira Nabiullina discussed related plans to help support fintech. She said the new platform would be “akin to a corporate university,” to help foster collaboration and innovation in finance.
Mrs. Nabiullina added: “The banking business is undergoing a rapid new technology-caused transformation as we see the emergence of new areas in the banking business. Therefore, undoubtedly, both the regulator and the bank community need to be abreast of all recent trends and best business practices.
Mrs. Nabiullina concluded: “My hope is that the bank community will assist us in developing the agenda for this platform.”
The Central Bank of Russia’s officials had invited banks to discuss the broader issues surrounding the development of crypto technologies in Russia, during its recent event in St. Petersburg.
Cryptocurrency in Russia
In a recent regulatory filing, QIWI had noted that it had started developing a new cryptocurrency called ‘Bitruble’ using a blockchain-driven distributed ledger technology that is common with cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
The company had also noted in the filing that it was working with Russian regulators to ensure that it will be able to launch this product in full compliance with Russian law, amid calls for cryptocurrencies in the country for to be outlawed.
Meanwhile, the new tone that emerged from the conference suggests that Russia may be opening up to the idea of cryptocurrencies, due to its testing of blockchain technology for its messaging system.