No Western Cryptography – FSB Wants to Introduce ‘Russian Algorithms’ in the International Blockchain Standard

News and Analysis

According to Vedomosti that reference their unnamed sources at the ISO (International Standardization Organization), Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) is represented in the special committee for blockchain standardization.

The publication says the committee’s first meeting was held in Sydney this April. According to Maxim Shevchenko, the ISO member and the deputy head of Infotex lab, the Russian delegation was headed by Grigory Marshalko, an FSB official. According to him, the Russian delegation includes members of the Rosstandard’s committee for cryptography.

Shevchenko refused to confirm whether Marshalko is indeed an FSB official, however, the latter himself has confirmed that he represents the FSB at the Rosstandard’s committee for cryptography. He did not comment on his participation in the ISO meetings, and referenced the public relations center of the intelligence organization. At the time of publication, no further comments were available.

Another member of the Russian committee at the ISO Alexei Urivsky stated that the Russian experts are tasked with introducing Russian cryptographic algorithms in the international blockchain standard.

“Without certified means of digital signatures used in the blockchain, Russian state bodies won’t be able to use blockchain. There shall be no Western cryptography there,” Urivsky said.

According to Andrei Soldatov, the author of The Battle of Russian Internet, those measures seek to force local users to choose the domestic blockchain.

The Russian authorities have outlined their blockchain-related plans in their Digital Economy program approved earlier this summer. According to the document, projects of regulatory acts that would allow the government to hold a juridical experiment on using blockchain for certification of rights have to be ready by 2018 Q4. By the end of March 2019 the documents will have to be approved, and the launch of experiment itself is scheduled for 2019 Q4. It will then run for a year. Following its results, the government plans to introduce legal conditions for blockchain application to the country’s legislation.

Earlier this month, Russia’s Federal Agency for Technical Regulation and Metrology has announced the creation of a new technical committee that will engage in standardization of blockchain technology. It is said to take its final form this fall.

Notably, Russia refrained from joining the international committee for blockchain standardization headed by Australia. In March 2017, this committee, which includes 35 nations, has published the first roadmap on development of blockchain standards.

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