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Russia’s Largest Bank Joins Enterprise Ethereum Alliance after R3 Rejection

Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:00 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:00 PM

Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank by assets has joined the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, the world’s largest blockchain consortium.

Initially founded by 30 members in February 2016, The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) is a working group of companies, technology startups, corporations and even governments working to leverage open-source Ethereum technology for enterprise blockchain solutions. The consortium has now announced the addition of Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, to a list of over 150 members from public and private sectors alike.

As early as 2015, Sberbank publicly stated its intent to develop blockchain solutions with global partners by revealing its desire to join the international banking blockchain consortium led by New York startup R3. Subsequently, R3 reportedly  refused Sberbank’s membership to the consortium. In September 2016, Sberbank joined the Linux Foundation-led open-source Hyperledger Project.

In an announcement this week, Sberbank became the first Russian bank to join the EEA and revealed its intent to further Ethereum blockchain solutions Russia, while gaining access to international expertise in the decentralized technology.

Sberbank senior vice president Igor Bulantsev stated:

Our entrance to the Alliance will help broaden cooperation between leading global companies in terms of developing the Ethereum platform. The Alliance is actively developing and I hope that the bank’s expertise will be of use to all of its members. In addition, the bank will be able to influence the enhancement of the platform and its growth in the corporate sector. I hope that our union will further strengthen our relationship with the Ethereum Foundation and serve as a significant step towards developing blockchain technology in Russia.

Sberbank has already participated and developed in a blockchain pilot and prototype respectively. A year ago, the bank participated with other Russian financial institutions in Masterchain, an Ethereum-based blockchain prototype developed by the Bank of Russia – the country’s central bank – for financial interbank messaging. Soon after, Sberbank also announced the successful testing of a blockchain prototype for document exchange with a Russian federal agency.

Sberbank chief executive Herman Gref, a noted blockchain advocate and bitcoiner who has previously criticized Russian authorities’ now-defunct bill to ban bitcoin, has opined that blockchain technology will lead to commercial applications in 2019.

Featured image from Shutterstock.