The deputy chair of Russia’s central bank has reportedly told commercial banking representatives that they should expect their industry to embrace blockchain technology in the next two years.

Moscow-based Rambler News Service has reported that deputy chair Olga Skorobogatova, appointed in 2014, told members of the country’s banking sector that the central bank sees a major role for blockchain applications in finance as the technology gains traction among the world’s financial institutions.

According to the news outlet, Skorobogatova said:

“In 2017-2018, we will see real examples of the use of this system. As a closed system, I think, [the blockchain] is the future, and we need to prepare for it.”

The comments come as Russia inches closer to legislation regulating so-called money surrogates, a classification of non-government issued currencies that includes bitcoin and other digital currencies.

Earlier this month, an advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin remarked that the acceptance of bitcoin would constitute a crime.

However, questions have been raised about how the country would go about actually prohibiting activities involving the digital currency. At the same time, private businesses in Russia have begun exploring applications of the technology, with payments firm Qiwi going as far as declaring its intention to issue its own kind of cryptocurrency.

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