As it became known this week, roadmaps for blockchain technology and quantum sensors were sent by the Russian government for revision. The corresponding statement following the Global Technology Leadership Forum in Sochi was made by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov.
On July 10, 2019, the Russian government and major Russian companies signed a number of agreements on further digital technologies development. Sberbank became responsible for AI; Rostec – for quantum sensors, blockchain, and the IoT; Rostelecom and Rostec – for wireless communication technologies (5G); Rosatom – for quantum computing; Russian Railways – for quantum communications.
“I would like to emphasize once again: the global competition for the possession of future technologies has already begun…In turn, the state in our case will provide partner companies with all the necessary assistance for the development of high-tech areas and support. We are talking both about financial and tax instruments as well as about creating a comfortable regulatory environment, including flexible experimental legal regimes,” said the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.
By the Forum results, five of seven directions have been approved along with its roadmaps. The two remaining roadmaps have been sent to a rather deep readjustment – these are quantum sensors and blockchain.
‘Legislation on cryptocurrencies in Russia has not yet been formed, but this year has changed a lot: the authorities changed their initial radically negative position and are now interested in developing new technologies for the benefit of the state, financial system, welfare, and convenience of citizens.’ Perhaps Russia, as a member of the BRICS, will introduce a unified state cryptocurrency. But it is unlikely that it will be a crypto ruble – there are not enough reliable grounds for its creation.
It is difficult to say how soon amendments will be made and whether they will affect crypto regulation in the country. However, during his last visit to Russia, Evan Luthra, Top 30 Under 30 tech entrepreneur and blockchain expert holding an honorary Ph.D. in decentralized and distributed systems, shared his vision of the situation in the country:
“People all over the world use cryptocurrency, and Russia is not an exception. About a third of the country’s inhabitants are familiar with cryptocurrencies, but they don’t understand how to operate them. A quarter of the inhabitants, mostly the younger generation, use or have previously used cryptocurrency in practice. This statistics is quite predictable since in Russia there are many talented developers and well-known projects like Ethereum Express Platform or Blackmoon Crypto.
Nevertheless, right now there is a risk that Russia, like many other countries that pursue a similar policy, will be isolated both from the common crypto-asset market and create all conditions for the degradation of its own even though there are promising projects.”
The current situation of blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies in the country is at a crossroads: on the one hand, everything is moving towards approval and mass adoption of the technology. The Rosseti company tested the blockchain on the electricity market in a number of Russian cities – the experiment was successful and gave management a clear idea of the consumed capacities and the fees for them. Rosseti agrees that the blockchain will make more transparent the relations between all participants in the electricity markets.
On the other hand, there are some serious obstacles to its implementation in the industry: the human factor and the uncertainty of the legislation are two stumbling blocks that hang with a heavy burden on the fate of the crypto industry in Russia.