Vladimir Putin Acknowledges Need for Blockchain Tech Adoption

February 26, 2018

Russian president stresses the need for Russia to increase its involvement in blockchain tech, in order to avoid being “late in the race”.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has fully endorsed blockchain technology, acknowledging its significance and emphasizing the importance of early adoption in order to avoid being left behind.

As per Russia Insight, an independent YouTube news channel, Putin commented on the matter at a meeting of top officials last week. He stated that while Russia may have “oil, gas, coal, metals of all kinds”, it was still in need of further advancement via the adoption of new technologies.

Quoting an unnamed former oil minister of an Arab nation, Putin said:

“The Stone Age has not ended due to lack of stones, but because new technologies have appeared.”

Referring to blockchain technology, Putin pointed out that anyone who is “late in this race” will “be under full dependence” to other nations and leaders who have been early adopters.

“Russia cannot allow this,” he added.

Putin went on to say that Russia has everything needed to be a leader in the blockchain tech industry, and stressed the need to “take full advantage” of this, expressing his commitment to “guarantee this progress into the future”.

Putin’s comments came in response to a statement by Herman Gref, the head of Sberbank (Russia’s largest bank), who proposed that Russia needed to “add this discipline [blockchain technology] in the training of professionals”. He also stressed the need for “very careful regulations” and appropriate legislation, owing to the widespread impact of the technology.

Gref also shared that the bank has plans for blockchain implementation; last month, Sberbank launched a dedicated blockchain lab to conduct research on implementing and promoting blockchain tech.

Blockchain technology forms the basis for cryptocurrencies, which have inspired mixed reactions worldwide. While the chances of high returns have seen investors and traders flocking to the crypto market, governments and financial authorities have turned a skeptical eye toward digital currencies, and begun to take steps to bring them under regulatory control.

Russia has compiled a draft bill which regulates but does not prohibit cryptocurrencies.

However, the approach to blockchain tech is more open; the Russian government has been testing the implementation of the technology in projects such as the ‘Active Citizen’ program, and the country’s first blockchain school was opened in Moscow earlier this month.

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