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According to a report, Russian payment platform Qiwi will create a blockchain consortium which will see Russia’s biggest banks at its members.

In a move reminiscent of the private banking blockchain consortium led by New York-based R3, Russian payment operator Qiwi is reportedly looking to create a consortium for banks in the country. Qiwi intends to develop standards for the application of distributed ledger technology among banks, according to a report from Russian publication Izvestia.

The Russian startup has sent invitations to Russia’s biggest banks including BIN Bank, Alfa Bank, and Russia’s largest bank – Sberbank.

Notably, Sberbank has, in the past, expressed its interest to join the R3-led international blockchain consortium. However, there are rumors that Russia’s biggest bank was denied membership in the consortium due to diplomatic international sanctions imposed on Russia.

Dmitry Kashtanov, head of Digital Business at Binbank confirmed that the bank had received an invitation from Qiwi to join the consortium. He added that the bank is discussing the possibility of joining the consortium in facilitating the joint common interests of banks, rather than the separated disparate views of the market.

The Blockchain Bandwagon

Earlier this year, the Bank of Russia (Russia’s central bank) established a working group to closely explore, analyze and study distributed ledger technology, with a preliminary report of their research to be presented in June.

Izvestia also cites that the central bank might cool its interest if distributed ledger technology’s application and potential aren’t realized by the end of 2016, therefore leading to the hurried foray to establish the banking-based private blockchain consortium.

The aim of the Qiwi-led consortium is to ensure efficient cooperation and communication of banks to discuss and research the potential applications of blockchain technology, Kashtanov revealed. Furthermore, the consortium will also aid in training specialists for blockchain-based projects. More significantly, the consortium is aiming to work closely with Russia’s central bank.

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