A group of Russian banks and financial services companies has formed a private-sector consortium focused on blockchain applications.

Announced 1st July, the consortium includes payment processing firm QIWI, B&N Bank, Khanty-Mansiysk Otkritie Bank, Tinkoff Bank, MDM Bank, and professional services firm Accenture. The launch came during the 25th International Financial Congress in St. Petersburg, which was hosted by Russia’s central bank and held between 29th June and 1st July.

Areas of focus include the development of blockchain proofs-of-concept, work on joint research and policy outreach, and the creation of technology standards. The group said in public statements that it intends to take a proactive approach in working with domestic regulators and policymakers.

The move comes months after QIWI expressed its hope to create “Russia’s R3CEV”, a reference to the financial services consortium focused on blockchain and distributed ledger development that counts more than 40 institutions among its membership.

QIWI CEO Sergey Solonin said in a statement:

“I’m convinced that the Consortium, which brought together the Russia’s largest financial company, is able to become an effective platform for multilateral cooperation in exploration, launching innovations and their implementations in financial services.”

Reports suggest that the central bank event revealed additional details about blockchain development in Russia.

According to ForkLog, Bank of Russia deputy chairwoman Olga Skorobogatova disclosed work on a blockchain-based “message transmission system” which is reportedly being tested in conjunction with outside parties.

“Our position is in applying the technologies where they may benefit the market, not just replacing one solution with another,” Skorobogatova was quoted as saying. “Currently we’ve developed a system for message transmission via blockchain. We’re testing it along with other market players.”

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