14 Mar 2023 14:14

Blockchain to help solve payments problem - Sberbank first dep CEO

MOSCOW. March 14 (Interfax) - Blockchain technology will help to solve the problem with settlements, Sberbank First Deputy CEO Alexander Vedyakhin said.

"It is blockchain technology that will make it possible to solve this issue [with settlements] because this is a distributed ledger, there is no one point of decision making, no center, no knife switch that can be shut off. Everyone has everything recorded, there are special protocols that make it possible to do this confidentially," Vedyakhin said at a meeting of the Federation Council Budget and Financial Markets Committee.

He said Sberbank is now doing research on the applications of blockchain technology. "We're confident that, together with other colleagues, with colleagues from the Central Bank, we'll find this solution," Vedyakhin said.

He said blockchain would become even more relevant in 2023. "The next generation payment systems are blockchain," Vedyakhin said.

This technology has been elaborated over the years, and a number of issues needed to be resolved. "The first was speed. So far, what we have seen before did not allow us to process a large number of transactions. Now we believe that this problem has been generally solved. The second was confidentiality, because a blockchain implies recording [transactions] simultaneously on all ledgers. Relatively speaking, if we have some kind of transaction, and another 10 million people see it, you are unlikely to want to make this transaction. Now this problem has also been solved in the new protocols," Vedyakhin said.

A number of Russian banks, including Sberbank, were hit by U.S. and European sanctions in 2022 and shut out of SWIFT.

Sberbank head Herman Gref said last June that the bank had begun to create an international settlements system as an alternative to SWIFT and planned to complete its configuration within a year.