Image by Ethereum Foundation
Russian President Vladimir Putin has sought out and met with Bitcoin’s primary competitor, Ethereum, to discuss a possible crypto-currency for Russia. The Kremlin is looking to diversify Russia’s economy away from hydrocarbons and blockchain technology seems to be a focus.
“The digital economy isn’t a separate industry, it’s essentially the foundation for creating brand new business models,” the Russian President said last week at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, Russia’s flagship economic event, as he met with the Ethereum’s founder Vitalik Buterin.
Several former Soviet Republics have already implemented blockchain technology into their government processes. Ukraine and Georgia are already using blockchain to save money and increase reliability and accuracy of government transactions.
“Russia’s central bank has already deployed an Ethereum-based blockchain as a pilot project to process online payments and verify customer data with lenders including Sberbank PJSC, Deputy Governor Olga Skorobogatova said at the St. Petersburg event. She didn’t rule out using Ethereum technologies for the development of a national virtual currency for Russia down the road,” reported Bloomberg.
“Blockchain may have the same effect on businesses that the emergence on the internet once had — it would change business models, and eliminate intermediaries such as escrow agents and clerks,” said Vlad Martynov, an adviser for The Ethereum Foundation, a non-profit organization that backs the cryptocurrency. “If Russia implements it first, it will gain similar advantages to those the Western countries did at the start of the internet age.”