Enterprise Ethereum Alliance signs up Russian banking giant

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance has secured its first Russian member, in the form of the country’s biggest bank, Sberbank.

The consortium, which comprises over 100 different members, is working to develop new technologies compatible with the ethereum blockchain, particularly relevant in financial services.

From Sberbank’s perspective, joining the EEA presents fresh opportunities for capitalising on markets around the world.

Evgeniy Kravchenko, the bank’s head of trade finance, said joining the ethereum group would help Sberbank develop greater trust and transparency with international partners.

“The next step for our blockchain team will be operations with foreign-based financial institutions and other banks, to do some international transactions, to see how we can increase the transparency and improve the trust between banks and corporate clients.”

The move is far from Sberbank’s first venture in blockchain technology, with the bank having already developed two proofs-of-concept models in partnership with local regulators and government agencies.

The first proof-of-concept model provides for smart letters of credit – credit agreements that dynamically adjust to changing variables – while the second was designed to provide bank letters of guarantee to customers through the blockchain.

It is hoped the partnership with the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance will help propel both proofs-of-concept to rollout stage, while helping Sberbank identify new opportunities for development on the emerging technology.

“We’ll be working with other banks on projects in other business areas, apart from trade finance: payments, lending, retail, everything that’s possible.”

While announcing the news this week, Sberbank were keen to highlight that they remain open to other blockchain projects, including working with other regional banks to develop new systems on the technology.

Far from restricting their focus to projects as part of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, Kravchenko said the bank were keen to explore the wider influence of the technology, which could overhaul current banking systems and processes.

However, Kravchenko believes it will take a collaborative approach across the industry to maximise the benefits of the technology.

“I think blockchain may influence all the parties who are represented here, because all the banks are here, Swift is here. But the main message from my side is we need to do it together and jointly with other players.”

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