Herman Gref, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of the largest Russian bank Sberbank, highlighted the potential of blockchain for the transformation of all domains of social and public life, during the meeting of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives in Moscow.

Speaking before the ASI on 14 January, Gref elaborated on the competitiveness of Russia in the blockchain advancement. The meeting of the Supervisory Board of the Agency, presided by Russian president Vladimir Putin, was focused on the Agency’s activity output for the year 2015.

Discussing innovative technologies, Herman Gref voiced his opinion concerning the transformative potential of the distributed ledger: “Blockchain is the technology that is capable to turn all the spheres upside-down: that of state regulation, functionality of the state in general, finance – every single one.” Besides, he claimed that Russia possesses a competitive advantage in the domain of blockchain development and advancement.

Dmitriy Peskov, head of the ASI’s Young Specialists direction, provided a vivid example of distributed ledger’s potential: “The combination of big data, focused education and the technology that is called “blockchain” – the possibility to track any kind of transaction whatever is the distance and the number of agents taking part in it – revolutionise practically all the spheres. In fact, what is going on? If in the past when you bought a car, it was functioning just like a piece of iron, now you are buying a service – your car is learning how to enter the curve and to drive without you; all the cars sold by one particular vendor are united in a single self-teaching network.”

Blockchain seems to become a regular subject of discussions within Russian official circles. In September 2015 Russian Central Bank announced the launch of a working group to research blockchain. At the same time, Herman Gref shared with the audience that he had some bitcoin in his personal possession. Later, in November 2015, Russian Deputy Minister of Finance Alexei Moiseev assured that blockchain will play a significant role in the future of finance and Internet economy.

The Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI) is a non-profit organisation, under the auspices of the Russian government elaborating strategic initiatives in business and social spheres, as well as in the sphere of human resources development and professional education.


Anna Lavinskaya