Russia-based Bank to Launch a Blockchain Accelerator

News and Analysis

According to an article posted by, Tatfondband creates a fintech lab in Kazan (Tatarstan, Russia) in cooperation with venture investment fund Life.SREDA. The companies expect the companies selected for acceleration will engage in development of blockchain-related services.

Marat Zagidullin, management board chairman at Tatfondbank, says the bank sees no possible troubles in terms of interacting with the regulator. He references Elvira Nabiullina, head of the Russian Central Bank, and German Gref, head of Russia’s biggest state-owned bank Sberbank, saying that cryptotechnologies are “acceptable”. According to Zagidullin, the decision on launching an R&D lab in Kazan was made after an expert session during Innobanking 2015 forum, which had been held in early December 2015.

The discussion, featuring representatives from the Strategic Initiative Agency, QIWI payment processor, and Metabeta, which had launched Russia’s first fintech accelerator AplhaCamp for Alpha Bank, resulted in the idea of connecting blockchain-based technologies and partnership financing.

According to Maxim Avdeyev, business development executive at Life.SREDA, open chains of transactions provided by the blockchain, will allow creating of p2p-lending platforms and crowdlending (a scheme for individuals lending money to businesses). He also pointed out that the technologies may be efficiently employed for creation of distributed depostories, clearing, and open architecture processing.

The accelerator program will feature two phases, namely domestic and international. The first phase will launch in Kazan in April and will last six months.

“The market will hardly offer too many properly focused projects. I believe, there will be ten of them at most,” Avdeyev says.

In October, the accelerator will hold a demo day for the projects to make presentations before the investors. Following the demo day, the best projects will have an opportunity to “clear up the adjustment” their developments at InspirAsia accelerator launched by Life.SREDA in April 2015. The venue for the “adjustment” may be Singapore or Dubai.

According to Avdeyev, selection of the platform for the second phase of the acceleration depends on international marketing strategies chosen by the winning projects. The company expects that Tatfondbank will fund all phases of the acceleration projects, while fintech analysis will go to the venture fund. Terms for participation and financial obligations of the parties are currently under development.

Zagiddulin stated Tatfondbank was willing to integrate projects developed in the fintech lab into Tatfondbank’s operations.

He said:

“In terms of processing the bank is totally open for that.”

He hopes that the fintech lab in Kazan will eventually become a platform for further discussions as to implementation of blockchain-based technologies with the regulator.

In mid-December Sberbank announced it would be developing blockchain-based services, and expressed its willingness to join R3 consortium, which features Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Barclays, and other major international banks. Sberbank experts believe that blockchain techology may increase security of transactions.

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