Russian Banks Form Private Blockchain Consortium

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Russian banks and financial services firms have come together to form the country’s first financial blockchain consortium, a coalition that will seek to explore and implement blockchain solutions in the banking and financial services industries.

Announced at the beginning of the month, Russia’s first ever blockchain consortium will see various prominent banks and notable financial and professional services firm Accenture, come together to form a private-sector coalition.

Initial whispers of the establishment of a blockchain consortium in Russia arose in early June 2016, with Russian payments operator Qiwi spearheading the effort. The Russian startup reportedly sent out invitations to Russia’s biggest banks to join the group as members.

And so it came to be, with the announcement of a consortium coming during the 25th International Financial Congress held in St. Petersburg, Russia, an event that ended on July 1.

The group consists of the Qiwi Group; a handful of banks, namely, B&N Bank (BINBANK), MDM Bank (Moscow Business World Bank), Otkritie Bank , Tinkoff Bank; and services & consultancy giant Accenture.

The consortium will see its members jointly develop and test proof-of-concept prototypes and will seek to standardize the technology, making it open to the market. The group’s activities will “spread over technological, regulatory, practical and communicative purposes,” a press release by consortium member Tinkoff bank revealed.

In statements, QIWI Group CEO Sergey Solonin said:

Blockchain can effectively solve the long-standing technological problems in the financial sector and change all kinds of relationships between market players.

I’m convinced that the Consortium, which brought together the Russia’s largest financial company, is able to become an effective platform for multilateral cooperation in exploration, launching innovations and their implementations in financial services.

Notably, it was officials from the Bank of Russia – Russia’s central bank – who invited banks and other participants to the event in order to foster a discussion about blockchain and crypto-technologies in the country.

The central bank had previously established a blockchain working group that studied distributed ledger technology in early February 2016.

At the time, the deputy chairwoman of the central bank, Olga Skorobogatova claimed that the modern financial industry will be “inseparable” with financial technology or Fintech, in its development.

In April 2016, it was reported that the Bank of Russia was considering the possibility of allowing Russian banks to store transactional data on a blockchain.

Now, in quotes reported by ForkLog, Skorobogatova, who was speaking at the International Financial Congress revealed that the central bank was already testing its blockchain prototype.

Our position is in applying the technologies where they may benefit the market, not just replacing one solution with another. Currently, we’ve developed a system for message transmission via blockchain. We’re testing it along with other market players.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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