Russia’s Biggest Bank Considers Implementation of the Blockchain Technology

News and Analysis

Sberbank, Russia’s biggest state-owned bank, is planning to join R3 in order to develop its services with the blockchain technology. This was announced by the bank’s deputy chairman, Leo Khasis, in an interview to Kommersant.

“We interact with the consortium very carefully and watch where the blockchain’s evolution is heading. Now we’re researching white papers and general reasonability [of the project]. We may join the consortium, though there is no final decision as yet,” he said.

Khasis added that as soon as R3 starts implementing protocols, standards, and technologies, Sberbank will be among the first ones to participate. Also he stressed that, notwithstanding the fact that the blockchain underlies bitcoin’s payment system, the bank has no intent to issue its own virtual money.

“As far as I know, the regulator’s stance remains the same. It is negative as to cryptocurrencies. The blockchain, however, is applicable for internal settlements, and transactions between our subsidiaries and other banks. It has nothing to do with cryptocirrencies, it is just another method of settlement, which is simplier, faster, and more secure,” Khasis said in an interview to the publication.

The bank believes that the blockchain may help it abandon SWIFT and protect its transactions.

Kirill Kibalko, former deputy executive for IT at Home Credit Bank, said that the blockchain may also eliminate some of the bank’s political risks related to new international sanctions that may be imposed on Russia in the wake of continuing Ukrainian crisis.

“When the sanctions were only dawning, Russian banks were afraid of possible disconnection from SWIFT. Implementation of the blockchain technology increases a bank’s reliability and stability releasing it from political risks like that, as bloclchain is a distributed system without a sole manager who could disconnect a bank therefrom,” he said.

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