The new distributed solution Digital Ecosystem will help to facilitate paper flow between the bank and a number of major companies and state agencies.

According to RBC, the list of system users will include the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia, Aeroflot - Russian Airlines, the military and civil aircraft producer United Aircraft Corporation, the major coal producer Russian Coal and ForteInvest financial company.

“It will speed up the information transfer between the participants,” said Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Sberbank Vladimir Kulik commenting on the launch of the system.

Deputy Head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service Andrey Tsarikovsky expects the blockchain system to go live in the first quarter of 2017.

“This will slash manpower expenses, let us avoid data duplication and transfer to a radically new method of document verification,” Tsarikovsky told RBC.

Sberbank’s earlier press release issued in October 2016 reveals that Digital Ecosystem is an electronic interaction model that allows paperwork to be transferred and stored in an encrypted format and the documents to be signed using electronic signatures. During a test run Sberbank and the Federal Antimonopoly Service successively transferred a document via the blockchain.

It is not clear, which blockchain does the Digital Ecosystem use. Sberbank is the member of the Hyperledger consortium, a blockchain software development association backed by IBM, Wells Fargo and other IT and financial giants. The main principle of Hyperledger is open source programming, and Digital Ecosystem will also be an open source venture.

Sberbank has been exploring the potential of blockchain for more than two years. The bank’s CEO Herman Gref is one of the most prominent supporters of cryptocurrency and the blockchain technology in Russia. In May 2016, Gref shared in an interview that Sberbank was planning to launch a new blockchain-based financial IT platform by the end of 2018. In November, under the supervision of Russia’s central bank, the company successfully carried out test money transfer between two accounts via blockchain.

Roman Korizky