An anti-trust agency within the Russian government is testing a blockchain-based document management system.
Dubbed "Digital Ecosystem", the project is aimed at developing tools that can "increase the speed, reliability and quality of interaction during document exchange".
The country's Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) is working alongside Sberbank to develop it. Other companies, including Aeroflot, Russia's largest airline carrier, are also involved, Sberbank said today.
In statements, FAS deputy chief Andrey Tsarikovsky said that the project points to a potential reduction in the cost of managing and exchanging documents.
He was quoted as saying:
"This decentralising approach cuts costs because data processing centres are not required and the requirements for equipment protection are lowered. It is noteworthy that Russia is one of the first countries in the world where the state and market participants are looking at these innovations as a way to simplify business operations."
The trial is one of the most notable to emerge from the country to date, coming amid continued debate within the government on the subject of regulating so-called money surrogates, a designation which would include bitcoin.
But that hasn't stopped government offices on both the local and national level from testing the tech, as shown by the FAS trial. In August, the Moscow government said that it was looking at blockchain as a possible means to prevent voter fraud.
The project is also the latest signal that Sberbank, one of the largest financial institutions, is taking a serious look at the technology.
The bank is a member of the Linux Foundation-led Hyperledger blockchain project, and in the past has indicated its interest in collaborative blockchain efforts alongside other companies in Russia as well. Last year, a venture fund backed by Sberbank said it was keeping an eye out for possible investments in the blockchain space.
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