Russia’s Biggest Bank Joins the Hyperledger Blockchain Project

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The Linux Foundation-run Hyperledger Project will see a new member join the ranks, in Russia’s largest bank (by assets) Sberbank.

The  Hyperledger Project will now include Russian bank Sberbank among its roster of members and participants, revealed a report by regional industry publication Bankir.Ru.

Sberbank first deputy chairman Lev Khasis and Hyperledger CEO Brian Behlendorf signed an agreement that sees the Russian bank’s inclusion, during the ongoing annual banking and financial conference, Sibos.

In statements (roughly translated), Khasis stated:

Joining the project generates new technological agenda for the bank and opens for us access to international expertise and cutting-edge developments in the field of blockchain.

We have an opportunity to directly influence the development of the platform and interact with its key developers.

As reported by Banking Technology, Khasis sees the bank using blockchain solutions for various sectors of industry beyond banking and finance, such as real estate. The bank will also see a dedicated developer team working with the Hyperledger Project, with Khasis adding that he expects the first use-case of blockchain technology by the bank to go live in a year from now.

Blockchain. Plugged in.

Sberbank’s interest in interacting with global financial institution and developers over blockchain technology was originally revealed in late 2015, when the bank sought to join the R3-led banking blockchain consoritum. At time time, Khasis claimed that Sberbank would be the first to adopt and implement blockchain solutions, as soon as the technology is developed, scaled and standardized.

In previous statements, Khasis said:

R3 [was created] in order to develop protocols, standards and technology. As soon as [these] are implemented, we believe we [Sberbank] will be among the first to take part in it.

Besides the interest in blockchain, the bank is also notable for comments made by its CEO, in regard to bitcoin. Despite the harsh regulatory stance taken by authorities against cryptocurrencies, Sberbank CEO Herman Gref opposed the proposed bitcoin ban bill in Russia, noting that such a barricade would hinder technological progress in the country.

Furthermore, another top-ranking official believes that the oncoming disruption driven by blockchain technology could see banks disappear in a decade from now. In April 2016, Sberbank’s vice president Andrey Sharov opined that the rise of blockchain technology would fundamentally lead to the demise and reshaping of the current banking industry.

Meanwhile, the Hyperledger Project now sees over 85 members among its ranks, with five new members joining the open-source collective during the commencement of Sibos. The collective sees participation from major technology companies such as IBM and Intel; blockchain startups like Blockstream and itBit; banks including J.P Morgan and Wells Fargo; as well as global financial markets such as the London Stock Exchange and the DTCC.

Founded in December 2015, the collaborative group sees members from various industries working together with the aim to develop open protocols and standards in an effort to ease and aid blockchain adoption in real-world scenarios.

Featured image from iStock/wrangel.

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