In significant developments in the Ethereum blockchain space, Russian state-owned bank VEB has entered a longstanding partnership with the Ethereum foundation toward the development and implementation of blockchain-based government applications.
At a ceremony this week, Russian state-owned development bank Vnesheconombank (VEB) signed a partnership agreement with Ethereum foundation founder, chief-architect and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin during the “Blockchain: New Oil of Russia” conference.
An official announcement by VEB reveals the agreement will set in stone “a long-term and effective partnership in the implementation of projects” that will include the development of a distributed registry using the Ethereum blockchain, the formation of an Ethereum expert community and the implementation of various educational programs and modules for training developers and turning them into blockchain specialists at VEB’s upcoming blockchain research-specific ‘Competence Center’.
The launch of the research center coincides with a wider Russian remit from the government to press ahead with a digital-forward agenda under the orders of Russian president Vladimir Putin. The research center will bring state-owned companies and government bodies together with blockchain engineers toward further adoption of the innovative decentralized technology within the Russian government.
Upon signing the agreement, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin stated:
Cooperation between Ethereum and VEB gives a unique opportunity to engage in research and development on the use of blockchain technology for public administration and accelerating the adoption of this technology to government organizations in the Russian Federation.
The partnership comes within months of Buterin meeting Russian president Putin at an economic forum in St Petersburg, earlier this year. Notably, the Bank of Russia – the country’s central bank – has already developed and tested ‘Masterchain’, an Ethereum blockchain prototype that enables financial messaging between banks in the Russian financial system.
Russia, previously known for its notoriously hardline stance on cryptocurrencies, has surprisingly emerged as a hotbed for blockchain-related developments and endeavors this year. In June, a senior official from Russia’s central bank confirmed pilot tests of a central bank-issued national digital currency based on blockchain technology. Russia’s national standards authority is drawing up plans to develop blockchain standards ahead of anticipated regulations for the industry in 2019.
Featured image from Vnesheconombank.