Regional Government in Russia to Test Blockchain Payments

Vnesheconombank (VEB), the Russian state-owned development bank, has inked a deal with the regional government of Kaliningrad to pilot a new blockchain-based payment system.

Last week, officials including Kaliningrad governor Anton Alkikhanov and VEB chairman Sergei Gorkov met at the Russian Investment Forum in Sochi to sign the agreement underpinning the trials. Alikhanov said in a statement that the development bank’s “competence in the area of blockchain technology” will help Russia’s westernmost region to “improve the quality of management decisions.”

The regional government and its development bank partner are betting that the technology will improve the quality of social services by increasing transparency and cutting costs. Elements of Russia’s government have previously trialed blockchain as part of research into potential public-sector applications, but the VEB deal represents a notable pairing of private and public interests…

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