Russian Government Organizations Are Embracing The Utility Of Blockchain Technology

Both the Russian National Settlement Depository (NSD) and Ministry of Health have been consulting with industry players to develop blockchain-based applications for financial services and the healthcare industry.

Announced on August 11, 2017, the NSD, together with self-described "blockchain for the people" Waves Platform, will launch a crypto-assets platform. A pilot will be unveiled in 2018 when development is expected to be finished. The platform will host and store tokenized assets, and give IDs to owners of crypto wallets.

The digital assets platform spearheaded by the NSD will rely upon developers and legislative efforts to establish risk mitigation for ownership of tokenized assets, ensuring a regulated and user-friendly environment for traders.

Chairman of the executive board at NSD, Eddie Astanin, remarked on the growth and waxing awareness of blockchain technology: “The crypto-asset market is rapidly growing and rightfully attracting enormous attention from traditional institutional investors, post-trade infrastructure and financial regulators around the world."

At Waves, co-founder and CEO Sasha Ivanov pointed out the importance of the partnership with NSD. She said:

"The ability to work with new types of financial instruments will be of interest to a wide circle of market participants, including banks, pension funds and retail investors. Collaboration with NSD is important for us with regard to all new and existing instruments, allowing us to ensure a high level of reliability, technological efficiency, and risk protection. NSD’s expertise and deep knowledge of market infrastructure will allow us to create a unique product for crypto asset record-keeping, meeting the requirements of a broad spectrum of market players.”

Astanin added, "In partnering with Waves, our goal is to create a secure and user-friendly accounting infrastructure for digital assets. We consider the platform would not only provide technological and legal protection of all parties involved, but also extend variety of post-trade services for investors, custodians and new institutions emerging in this sector of economy. It is also important to synchronize our efforts with the work of regulators in this field.”

In a similar announcement today, the Russian Ministry of Health revealed that, in conjunction with national development bank Vnesheconombank (VEB), pilot projects utilizing blockchain technology will be cultivated. Come September, the VEB is going to launch the Centre of Competencies to focus on solutions via the blockchain workspace for medical applications. More interest in blockchain applications for health care may be due to a recent law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin relating to the digitization of medical related documentation, prescriptions, and telemedicine.

Earlier this month, Chairman of Vnesheconombank Sergey Gorkov had met with Russian Minister of Health Veronika Skvortsova. During the meeting, various pilot programs were identified and are intended to be implemented in the near future. According to Skvortsova, the Ministry of Health is ready to rapidly deploy blockchain projects to be used in the healthcare industry, and is giving priority to the adoptions of digital technologies.

Gorkov made a statement extending a collaborative invitation to the Ministry of Health:

“In September, VEB is launching its Centre of Competencies with a focus on blockchain. The Centre will engage in the development of private blockchain using the concerted efforts of the VEB team and an international professional team capable of accomplishing the tasks set by the Ministry of Health. In its turn, the Ministry is to define areas of blockchain application. To ensure greater consistency of work, we invite the Ministry of Health to join the blockchain working group.”

In the past, Russian authorities have sent mixed signals on blockchain regulation. However, recent developments, including the reversal of a 2014 ban on cryptocurrencies and elimination of fines related to using them, indicate acceptance. Now it would seem that acceptance is paving the way to action, with these pilot programs perhaps galvanizing the future of crypto within the federation.