The Russian political party Partiya Rostiya has launched the world’s first blockchain-based social project by issuing its cryptocurrency called Upcoin in collaboration with the blockchain startup Waves to promote blockchain technology awareness and to incentivize its party members to engage in more community-based activities.
Russia and the Blockchain
Initially, when bitcoin and the blockchain first made waves in Russia, the government’s perception towards the digital currency and its underlying technology was not favorable to the point that bitcoin use was effectively banned in Russia. However, the consistent growth and stabilization of the value of bitcoin and the developments of real-world business applications for blockchain technology have swayed lawmakers’ opinions towards taking a more positive stance towards cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology in recent months.
As a result of increasing global interest and trust in digital currencies, on December 28, 2016, the Central Bank of Russia launched a FinTech association with the aim of studying blockchain technology and finding ways to implement it into Russia’s financial market. The FinTech Association is composed of representatives from major financial institutions such as banks, payment processors, and the National System of Payment Cards. Payment processor, Qiwi’s, CEO Sergey Solonin was named the head of the association.
“The Association’s key objectives will include the development and introduction of new technological solutions to ensure the development of the Russian financial market. It will also promote digitalisation of the Russian economy,” said Bank of Russia’s Deputy Governor Olga Skorobogatova. She added that the association would investigate new digital identification and payment systems. These actions clearly signal the central bank’s intention to boost blockchain adoption in the country’s financial sector.
The Russian government has also been considering the use of the blockchain in other areas such as secure document storage and has conducted several tests in this area.