Lev Khasis, First Deputy Chairman of the largest Russian bank Sberbank, has compared using blockchain with teenage sex, saying in both things you are meeting with the unknown.

Public excitement and lack of real knowledge can be called the main features of blockchain nowadays, claims the financier. “I guess, today blockchain is a bit like sex talk among teenagers: everyone talks about that but there is little experience,” as quoted by the website banki.ru.

Sberbank itself remains rather cautious about blockchain, notes Khasis. “We, too, understand, that blockchain as a technology has a great potential, but we don’t see many examples of its practical use so far,” he said.

Khasis explains Sberbank’s reserved attitude reminding that as of now the most popular blockchain implementation is bitcoin virtual currency regarded in Russia as “surrogate money”. In this quality it is considered by many as banned by the current legislation. However, it is not very clear whether the recent anti-bitcoin amendments in the Russian Penal Code imply punishment for miners only or for all bitcoin users. Nevertheless, it is obvious that in general the bitcoin legislation in the country is getting stricter.

Still, as the use of distributed ledger is not confined to bitcoin, Russian financial regulators are interested in exploring blockchain implications. For example, Sberbank’s CEO Herman Gref believes that the blockchain technology is able to make taxation system more personalised and can register proprietary rights more securely than existing state structures. Also, speaking at the meeting of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, Gref said it even more straightforwardly: blockchain is able to turn upside-down all the spheres that have anything to do with government.

Deputy chair of the Bank of Russia Olga Skorobogatova also emphasised the possibilities that blockchain brings at the recent meeting of the Central Bank management with Russian bankers. Regulators aren’t ready to accept blockchain as an open anonymous system, the way it works with bitcoin; but using the technology in the “closed form”, when it’s possible to identify the user, is a very promising direction, said the economist.


Andrew Levich