The event held on 19 April was focused on discussing the application of the blockchain technology in banking, finance and non-financial sphere. The list of speakers included representatives of Russian Central Bank.
The forum was organised by “Bankir.ru”, the news outlet specialising on news and analytics on the banking sector in Russia and beyond, and Internet Initiatives Development Fund (IIDF) - business-accelerator for promising Russian startups. The forum’s agenda was divided into three sections: “Blockchain and the new platform technologies”, “Open platforms for banking and data standards” and “Industrial blockchain and the perspectives of new services creation”.
The forum’s section devoted to the blockchain technology discussion gathered in one place representatives of banking and finance spheres (the leading Russian bank – Sberbank, National Clearing Depository, Visa), large IT and Internet companies (IBM, Microsoft, Qiwi) and regulators (Central Bank of Russia).
Deputy President of the Bank of Russia, Olga Skorobogatova, opened the discussion with a speech “Innovative technologies and approaches to their application”. Skorobogatova mentioned 3 aspects which “are inevitable for each country to consider in order to adopt distributed technologies on a large scale.” According to her, these are, firstly, mitigation of existing risks, secondly, creation of necessary regulatory framework that could minimise risks for financial system and, at the same time, enable businesses to utilise the technology legally, and, thirdly, involving of market participants who are now on different stages in their interpretation and understanding of the technology. Besides, market participants should consider two possibilities, the first being “the creation of consortium of R3 type” and the second “the creation of hubs” that could unite different market players and allow them to participate all together in the emerging system, claimed the deputy president. Skorobogatova called on market players to draw practical conclusions concerning blockchain technology applications and problems that it solves, and to act decisively and adopt the blockchain technology in their businesses despite all risks – to be “smart to fail”.
During their interventions, speakers shared their experience of blockchain adoption for handling their business problems. The chief architect of the National Clearing Depository, Artem Duanov, told about testing E-proxy voting technology for bond owners powered by blockchain. According to him, the prototype is fully functional, however, it is yet impossible to use it in production since this would require making changes to the legislation. Alexei Arkhipov, the director of cryptotechnologies department of Qiwi, one of the leading Russian e-payments service, outlined advantages and disadvantages of blockchain-based processing that is implemented already – the insufficient speed for processing all transactions Qiwi works with (around 900 per second) turns out to be the main weakness of blockchain application in this case. CEO of the Sberbank’s Centre for Technological Innovations, Ekaterina Frolovicheva, was speaking about blockchain implementation for letters of attorneys – the project is also already implemented.
Despite a number of examples of effective business implementation, the participants were repeatedly encouraged to look for possible use cases where the blockchain technology would be the only possible solution for business problems.