By Alicia Naumoff | June 4, 2017
The International Economic Forum, which just wrapped up in St. Petersburg, reportedly resulted in more than €30 bln of investments. The final and the most important result, however, is measured not in numbers, but in the mood and attitude of those who attended the Forum and who was keeping an eye on the events and meetings held in the North “capital” of Russia.
The cryptocurrency community is for sure left stunned by the recent meeting between Russian President Putin and the founder of Ethereum Vitalik Buterin.
Putin becomes a fan of Blockchain
As commented by Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov, during the meeting, Putin and Buterin discussed the application of technologies in the country. Reportedly, the president supported the idea of establishing new business relationships following the road paved by Blockchain technology.
Earlier during the Forum, the first Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said that Putin is really enthusiastic about the idea of building a new digital economy in the country and shared that at the moment at least three directions of Blockchain application are being explored and tested, which include the tracking of goods, building identity as well as ownership rights protection systems.
Buterin was among the speakers at the panel discussion on Blockchain economy, which actually became one of the most popular ones. Panelists discussed the potential of the technology to trigger the establishment of a new type of economy, as well as regulatory issues related to that process.
Russian regulators have been struggling so far trying to find a way to put Blockchain applications inside existing regulatory framework. Pseudo-anonymity is what concerns them the most.
“I think this dilemma has no resolution. Regulators will always try to come up with new ways to control and analyze transactions, and people will always try to think how to hide these transactions. It is a sort of mathematical war, but system’s properties will never let any of these sides win.”
Not just a toy for a bunch of hackers
When Buterin first came up with the idea of Ethereum, he had only a few applications in his mind, as he said himself. However, as the technology matured and network grew, he was amazed to see how many applications for Ethereum Blockchain were found and suggested by numerous community members.
“The creativity and innovation brought about by the community are way more important than what I once came up with.”
Answering the question of one of the co-panelists, Buterin mentioned that we are right at the doorstep entering the period when Blockchain technology is marching confidently across the industries.
People start realizing that it is not just a toy for a bunch of hackers, but an efficient tool which has the potential to be deployed by banks, financial institutions, businesses, regulators, etc.
He shared his own experience in the Blockchain space and what inspires him the most:
“I started in the Blockchain space six years ago. I earned 20 BTC, 8.5 of them I invested into buying a shirt. Bitcoins I spent are now worth $20,000 and the shirt is long gone. But what I realized joining this global experiment is that this digital economy system only works if thousands of people around the world work together. And the idea that a few thousands of people connected to the network can create an independent financial system impressed me a lot. Ideas of decentralization, cryptography, openness, transparency stunned me. However, the application of Blockchain is not limited to cryptocurrency only. It has a huge potential to be applied across industries, in businesses and organizations of all sizes bringing significant benefits.”
Russia aims to become global IT leader
Blockchain technology is often compared with another technological invention – the Internet – and the impact of it is expected to be much greater. Just like in the case of the World Wide Web, those countries that decide to be bold and implement technology solutions before anyone else does are going to have a significant competitive advantage.
Russia has a chance to become one of the leaders in the global IT industry. Even though details of the meeting between Putin and Buterin are kept under the seal of secrecy, one detail leaked – the president is ready to give full support for the development of Blockchain technology, what would definitely result in a much greater volume of investments coming into the country despite any restrictions and sanctions.
This idea is actively supported and promoted by Sergey Gorkov, chairman at VEB (Vnesheconombank), who suggests empowering banks for navigating relationships between investors preparing for ICOs.