According to a Sberbank press release, the partnership will allow them to explore data transfer and storage uses for blockchain. Sberbank joins dozens of other banks and financial institutions using the Ethereum platform, the leading choice for smart contracts, which have countless applications in various other fields.
"Russia is wise to embrace blockchain as the future. Blockchain is used by stock exchanges, hospitals, banks and countless other institutions around the world. It’s reinventing the IPO through Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs.) It is used to secure documents, ranging from election ballots to bonds to medical records, but it’s about to become a bigger deal than anyone ever envisioned," Nick Spanos, co-founder of the Zap Project, and the Bitcoin Center NYC – New York’s first bitcoin exchange – told Sputnik News.
The Russian government has also expressed its interest in cryptocurrency, with their Minister of Communications, Nikolay Nikiforov, announcing plans for the creation and distribution of the country's own digital currency in October, called the CryptoRuble, which will reportedly be blockchain-based. The CryptoRuble is unlikely to provide users with the same level of anonymity as other cryptocurrencies, as authorities want to ensure that this new, centrally-issued currency doesn’t become a tool for crime.
"The beauty of it is that everyone can see in many places how digital currencies revolutionize how business is done and how the average person lives. Common sense and popular demand will win out in countries slow to accept this reality. Every country that tries to impede bitcoin only stifles their own global competitiveness," Spanos added.
Russia is currently finalizing legislation which will alter the regulation of the cryptocurrency market, with a particular focus on initial coin offerings (ICOs.) Chairman of the State Duma's financial markets committee Anatoly Aksakov told RIA Novosti that he expects the draft law to be completed by next March.
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