The space race was a few decades ago; it took place in the material world, the new race is now, it’s in bits and bytes, it takes place in the digital world. The competitors are Russia, China, USA, Japan and other countries like Belarus and Switzerland that are seeking to make themselves a great space for blockchain based companies to come to and thrive.
It seems like Putin, the president of Russia, thinks that the Russian Federation needs to stay ahead and competitive in the technology industry.
Putin recently had a meeting with Herman Gref, the leader of one Russia’s largest financial institutions, Sberbank. Putin told Gref that it is important the Russian Federation does not fall behind others in the progression of technological adoption and implementation. Sberbank has been involved in various trials and tests regarding blockchain technology and is certainly paying attention to the growth and potential use cases of the technology in its operations.
It is important to note that Gref, for his part understands the impact of blockchain technology and the impacts of cryptocurrencies on society. He stated late last year that cryptocurrencies are part of life and that this emerging market is certain to be a fixture of the worldwide financial markets.
Gref stated to Russian Movers and shakers at the (Russian Entrepreneurs Association, REA):
“Virtual currencies are a natural outcome of blockchain technology. We may ban them; we may welcome them. It is trendy to urge people not to play with them. But they are a fact of our life.”
Early this year, Sberbank made mention of the fact that it may look further into the aspect of cryptocurrency as Goldman did in the past, noting that they may introduce a trading platform to meet the demands by its customers.
Furthermore, other representatives from the Russian Bank have stated that they will be looking into providing a wide range of services to assist investors in all regards pertaining to cryptocurrency markets.
Putin calls for a broader implementation of Blockchain
It seems that Putin is calling for various sectors of the Russian economy to incorporate blockchain technology, from the private sector (including banks among others) to the public sector (lawmakers and more).
According to a rough translation by Trace Mayer, Putin stated:
“We need [blockchain technology]. … Stone Age has not ended due to lack of stones, but because new technologies appeared. Those late in this race will instantly, VERY FAST, be under full dependence from leaders of these processes.”
As such, there is already evidence of Russia seeking to clarify its regulations in regards to all things cryptocurrency in matters ranging from mining to ICO’s to other aspects.
Putin seems to want regulators to hurry up and make sure that there is enough of concrete foundation in blockchain and cryptocurrencies so that companies won’t be discouraged to stay in the country, to start and grow their operations.
Full regulatory clarity is still yet to come and should be present around the midpoint of this year.
It is important to note that other countries like India have also expressed a similar sentiment in keeping up and developing with technology. Meanwhile, Iran, Turkey, and others have been reported to be in talks to potentially deploy their state-backed cryptocurrencies.