Sberbank, Russia’s largest commercial bank, announced it has joined the Hyperledger Project – an initiative of the Linux foundation to advance the blockchain technology.
According to reports of the Russian-language site Bankir.ru, the cooperation agreement was signed by Sberbank first deputy chairman Lev Khasis and Hyperledger’s CEO Brian Behlendorf during the annual banking and financial conference Sibos that took place earlier this week in Geneva.
“Joining the project generates new technological agenda for the bank and opens for us access to international expertise and cutting-edge developments in the field of blockchain,” Khasis said. “We get the opportunity to affect the platform development and cooperate directly with its key developers. The result of those efforts could change the way business transactions are carried out, including at global level.”
Khasis told other media that Sberbank could use blockchain for many items – both within the financial technologies and outside (such as real estate, for example) – and that he expects the technology could have a live application within a year.
Sberbank will have a dedicated team of developers to work with Hyperledger.
Hyperledger is a collaborative project launched by the non-profit technological association Linux Foundation that promotes the advancement and standardization of the free and open source computer operating system Linux. Members of the Hyperledger Project include Deutsche Boerse, LSE, IBM, Cisco and Intel. Financial institutions that have joined Hyperledger include ABN Amro, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, BNP Paribas, BNY Mellon, Moscow Exchange, Wells Fargo and the global money transferring system SWIFT.
The Hyperledger Project is seen by some as a competitor of the Google-backed blockchain developer Ripple, which also works on the development and application of the distributed ledger technology in the financial industry. It recently attracted $55 million investment from several big banks and started a collaboration with 15 Japanese banks to develop a blockchain-based money transferring system.
Sberbank is Russia’s largest bank by assets. It holds almost one third of aggregate Russian banking sector assets, it is the key lender to the national economy and the biggest deposit taker in the country. It was founded by Russia’s central bank, which is also the principal shareholder and owns 50% of the capital plus one voting share. Sberbank has more than 135 million individual customers and more than 1 million corporate clients in 22 countries.