Blockchain Will Be Commercial in 2019, Says CEO of Russia’s Largest Bank

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Noted blockchain advocate, bitcoiner and chief executive of Sberbank, Herman Gref, has stated that the commercial applications of blockchain technology in Russia will take shape in two, or two-and-a-half years from now.

According to regional news publication Prime, the chief executive of Russia’s largest bank by assets opined that the timeframe, while optimistic, is likely to be achieved. Gref points to a special working group headed by Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov toward exploring blockchain applications as a “huge step forward” toward development and the plausible deployment of blockchain technology across a “virtually all industries”.

In quotes reported by the publication, Gref added:

Maybe they are a bit optimistic, but 2-2.5 years – is the horizon within which we can speak about the application of blockchain technology in commercial applications.

Sberbank was previously in discussions to join the country’s first financial (private) blockchain consortium spearheaded by the Bank of Russia, the country’s central bank. The central bank’s interest in exploring blockchain applications were first revealed in early 2016, when it established a working group to that end.

Meanwhile, Sberbank has previously expressed its interest to join the banking blockchain consortium led by R3, as early as 2015In late 2016, Sberbank joined the open-source Hyperledger blockchain project, led by the Linux Foundation.

For his part, Gref has publicly stated his support for blockchain-based innovation and poured scorn on the previously proposed and now-defunct bitcoin ban bill proposed by the Russian Finance Ministry. He argued that banning bitcoin would hinder Russia’s own technological progress and will persuade blockchain technology experts to move away from the country to friendlier jurisdictions.

Further, Gref also revealed that he used to trade virtual currencies, specifically bitcoin. Speculating on their value, the banking executive revealed that he exchanged them to rubles and back to bitcoin, speculatively investing in the world’s most prominent cryptocurrency.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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