VEB.RF withdraws from blockchain competency centre in Moscow

VEB.RF withdraws from blockchain competency centre in Moscow
VEB.RF has stopped financing a digital transformation and blockchain competency centre in Moscow
By EWDN in Moscow March 12, 2019

VEB.RF (the new name for VEB, or Vnesheconombank, a major Russian state-owned financial institution) has stopped financing a digital transformation and blockchain competency centre, which it had co-founded in late 2017 with Russia’s National University of Science and Technology (MISIS), reports East-West Digital News (EWDN).

The 5,000 sq. m. centre involved some 20 companies including Ethereum, Bitfury, Waves, E&Y and PwC. It was engaged in the introduction of the blockchain, for instance, in the process of registering equity agreements in construction deals or in managing the pension account data of private pension funds.

As reported by business daily Kommersant, the bank considers the project to have failed to reach specific objectives and to no longer correspond to its investment priorities. According to Yury Pripachkin, president of the Russian Association of Cryptoindustry and Blockchain (RACIB), cited by Kommersant, VEB.RF’s decision to close the centre was also due to the delays in adopting cryptocurrency legislation in Russia.

Kommersant’s wrote that the process of VEB.RF withdrawal is now coming to an end, with most employees of the competency centre already sacked.

The competency centre might, however, resume activities under the responsibility of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

VEB.RF, meanwhile, does not seem to have lost confidence in the cryptocurrency world, as witnessed by its partnership with Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange Huobi, announced just a couple of months ago, to launch a Huobi branch in Russia. 

The bank’s decision to stop financing the competency centre should not be understood as reflecting a lesser interest of Russian corporations and government organizations in blockchain technologies. However, competencies tend to be more internalized than just one or two years ago, hence reduced needs in third-party resources, an industry expert told East-West Digital News.