Russia’s Rosstandart Working To Establish Blockchain Standards

On August 11, 2017, Russia’s Federal Agency for Technical Regulation and Metrology (Russian: Rosstandart) announced the formation of a technical committee (TC) to standardize blockchain and distributed ledger technologies. Sergei Anatolyevich Gavrenkov, general director of National Information Systems LLC, is the proposed chairman.

According to a rough translation of Rosstandart’s release, the TC’s focus areas will include:

  • Software and hardware (complexities) of blockchain technology;
  • Software for blockchain technology;
  • Areas of application of blockchain technology in the Russian Federation; and
  • Solutions in the field of security and confidentiality of distributed ledger technology.

On a global level, blockchain standardization efforts have been led by Australia, Secretariat of TC 307, a technical committee of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Russia did not join ISO/TC 307 when it was initially formed, but has since become a participating member. The group now includes 20 participating members and 15 observing members.

Recently, the Russian government has embraced blockchain endeavors. Last week, the Moscow Exchange Group’s National Settlement Depository announced a blockchain-based system that will host and store tokenized assets, and give IDs to owners of crypto wallets. Built on the Waves Platform, the prototype will be unveiled in early 2018.

Russia may also jump into the mining competition, as one of President Vladimir Putin’s internet advisors has undertaken a token offering (ICO) for “Russian Miner Coin,” or RMC. With a fundraising target of $100 million, the company aims to capture up to 30 percent of global mining power, thereby challenging China’s hashing supremacy.

However, regulatory efforts seem to have stalled in the former Soviet superpower. Last week, during an interview with Invest Foresight, Elina Sidorenko, head of the State Duma’s working group assessing the risks of turnover in cryptocurrency, indicated that cryptocurrency legislation has been postponed. She worries that the government’s lack of a “unified position” on cryptocurrency will hurt the country.

According to Sidorenko, “Without coordination with ministries and departments [and] without developing a unified position, we are unlikely to advance.” In particular, two major concerns have arisen: volatility and security. Sidorenko points to “serious fluctuations” in bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies, and she worries about the state’s preparedness to handle unpredictable swings. Furthermore, Sidorenko highlights the failure of Russian cryptocurrency exchange BTC-E, questioning the security of wallets and the capacity of Russian law enforcement to investigate cybercrime.