Sberbank, one of the largest banks in Russia, has announced a blockchain laboratory to develop and test blockchain-based solutions.
The new lab aims to generate product prototypes, perform pilot tests and deploy blockchain-based business solutions for Sberbank Group, a press release says.
According to Igor Bulantsev, Sberbank's senior vice president, blockchain can help in "reshaping" the financial business market, as well as the bank's activities and services.
"It is important to note that blockchain helps market participants cooperate more efficiently. Hence, Sberbank is making a contribution to the future of the banking industry and our country by launching the blockchain laboratory."
The project will work on developing advanced technologies in conjunction with the bank's other laboratories, and is also planning to build collaborations with startups, and via other alliances.
Sberbank's blockchain lab will appoint blockchain specialists with experience in building and implementing blockchain ideas to existing products as well as creating new approaches to business activities, the release adds.
The launch comes a month after the CEO of Sberbank, Herman Gref, stated that the wider-scale implementation of blockchain in Russia could take as long as a decade. He noted at the time, Russia is "experimenting a lot" on blockchain and added that the bank will introduce some products on a "large scale" this year.
In February of last year, Gref predicted that the use of distributed ledger technology by banks and other incumbents could be just 2-2.5 years away.
Sberbank has launched number of initiatives in the blockchain ecosystem including its recent entrance into the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance - an enterprise-focused consortium. Some of the bank's blockchain-based pilot projects include joint solutions with Severstal and Federal Antimonopoly Services, among others.
Sberbank image via Shutterstock