Russian Central Bank has announced it sets up a task force “to analyse and evaluate” the possibilities of new financial technologies. A special focus of the study is expected to be on the blockchain technology.
As the official press release reads, the study of distributed ledger (e.g. blockchain) is the priority for the working group. Other spheres of interest include mobile technologies and new models for payment processing.
The Bank of Russia's Deputy Chairman, Olga Skorobogatova, will be in charge of the team. In her statement she said:
“The development of the modern financial market is inseparable from the development of financial technologies. Financial services are being digitalised, new business models and ecosystems continue to emerge on the market and the behaviour of consumers is changing. The high-tech financial market needs a high-tech regulator that will fully understand the essence of financial processes and technologies and their possible practical application.”
According to the press-release, the working group will hold regular meetings with representatives of Russian banks, self-regulating organisations and other financial market actors with the aim to discuss various aspects of the application of the new financial technologies.
The news comes as certain Russian state institutions voice their support for a total ban of bitcoin in the country. While the Central Bank of Russia is favourably regarding the blockchain technology and its use in the banking system and on the financial market, at the same time it keeps repeating that all “surrogate money”, such as cryptocurrencies, should not be legalised. The ban on bitcoin is also promoted by representatives of the Investigative Committee of Russian Federation (ICRF) who believe that cryptocurrencies can potentially bring down the whole financial market in Russia, as well as by Federal Drug Control Service of the Russian Federation (FDCS) claiming that over the last two years Russian drug dealers have twenty times increased bitcoin usage.