QIWI to Lead Russian R3 Effort

News and Analysis

According to Russian news outlet Izvestia, local payments processor QIWI intends to become the driving force behind creation of a consortium of Russian banks interested in development of blockchain applicability standards.

The publication references to an unnamed source close to the processor.

The source ckaims that QIWI has invited Russia’s largest banks, including Sberbank, Binbank, and Alpha Bank, to join the consortium. The decision to create a blockchain consortium in Russia is said to be inspired by the European and American sanctions imposed on Russia in the wake of the Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The sanctions, the publication’s source elaborated, caused R3CEV to reject Sberbank’s application to join in the first place.

Sberbank first vocalized its intent to join R3CEV back in December 2015. However, only a week later, the Wall Street consortium announced it closed the first expansion round. Further R3’s efforts were said to be focused on seeking non-bank partners.

QIWI, Sberbank and Alpha Bank refused to provide any details in regard of the possible R3-like consortium in Russia. However, head of digital businesses at Binbank, Dmitri Kashtanov, confirmed the news to Izvestia. He told the publication:

“In cooperation with QIWI, we’re discussing integrating our efforts and participation in the consortium. The consortium’s objective is to maintain operative interaction between banks in terms of blockchain application, search and discussion of the technology’s possible application, and training of [relevant] specialists. Additionally, the consortium will seek close cooperation with the Central Bank. It would be easier for the regulator to deal with a concerted position of several major banks, rather than with individual opinions found on the market.”

Binbank’s spokesperson also believes that blockchain applications are most promising in areas involving data exchange and smart contracts.

Last September, the Bank of Russia has announced the creation of a working group on blockchain studies. The group is expected to publish its research’s findings this June.

However, Izvestia’s source stressed, there is some haste in terms of blockchain application. The source noted that, should crediting organizations fail to proceed with developing the technology’s standards by the end of the year, the regulator may eventually decline its usage altogether.


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