Will Russia rely on blockchain to replace SWIFT?
Last February, Russian banks have been excluded from the SWIFT interbank payment system by decision of the international community. The maneuver was intended to hasten the resolution of the war in Ukraine, by stifling Russia economically.
But four months later, the situation has become bogged down, and Russia is apparently seeking to develop alternatives. The government organization Rostec, which brings together several local companies in the Tech sector, announced this month that it was developing a system to enable international bank payments. This type of solution already exists, particularly in China. The country had launched its international interbank payment system in 2015, called CIPS.
👉 To go further – What is blockchain?
Distributed ledgers and digital wallet
In Russia, the current project is called CELLS, and it will presumably be blockchain-based. According to a statement from Rostec, the system, developed by the Novosibirsk Institute of Software Systems (NIPS), will use distributed ledgers that will support various fiat currencies.
However, CELLS will go further than SWIFT: it will allow its users to create wallets for storing digital currencies, according to the press release. In terms of capacity, Rostec is aiming for 100,000 transactions per second, at least initially.
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A U-turn for the Russian government?
Those last weeks, we feel that the tide is turning in Russia on the side of technologies associated with the blockchain. At the start of the year, the country’s central bank was once again hostile to the sector, even suggesting that cryptocurrencies should be banned altogether. The Duma, for its part, was more measured, but not particularly open to the subject.
Would that be changing? While Ukraine has from the first days of the conflict integrated a strategy based on cryptocurrencies, Russia could follow. Last May, a member of the Ministry of Finance explained as follows:
” The idea of using digital currencies for international transaction settlements is being actively discussed.“
The Central Bank follows suit
This was also confirmed by a surprise reversal by the Governor of the Bank of Russia, Elvira Nabiullina. Historically very anti-crypto, she told our RBC colleagues last week that cryptocurrencies could be used for international payments. On one condition, however: that the latter are not integrated into the internal financial system of Russia. Nabiullina explained as follows:
” Cryptocurrencies should not be traded on organized exchanges, as these assets are too volatile, too risky for potential investors. »
Too risky for investors therefore, but not necessarily to support the Russian economy, which is now suffering greatly from its international isolation? This admission by the country’s Central Bank shows that in Russia too, things are changing.
👉 Read also – Russia: cryptocurrency miners consume more than 2% of the country’s electricity
Sources: Rostec, Reuters, RBC
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