The annual National Payment Forum held in Moscow last week gathered more than 500 experts to discuss the most burning fintech issues, including the perspectives of implementing blockchain into the financial sphere.

The discussion on the blockchain technology was initiated by Visa representative Oleg Skorodumov, with SWIFT's Kevin Johnson making a presentation on the technical basics of blockchain, and Petr Darahvelidze (WebMoney) going into the details on blockchain-backed electronic currencies.

The main problem under discussion was the ability of the technology to improve efficiency of current financial system, or rather to disrupt it totally and bring a new vision in. Risks associated with the technology were also assessed by the speakers, some of them noting that any failures of blockchain companies could undermine customers' reliance on the technology as such.

The representative of the Bank of Russia Mikhail Myznikov shared these sentiments while stating that, notwithstanding the risks, blockchain has all the potential to become a constituting element of the future financial system.

The discussion around cryptotechnologies has been heated up in Russian financial circles since early autumn, when the Ministry of Finance urged to criminalise digital currencies, such as bitcoin and the upcoming bitruble, whilst the heads of the nation's largest bank Sberbank and the country's Central Bank appeared to be more supportive towards cryptocurrencies and underlying technologies.

Maria Rudina