Russia’s central bank has formed a blockchain research consortium by partnering with some of the privately-owned banks in the country.

Russia central bank

The move comes after the Russian payment platform Qiwi recently announced plans to set up a blockchain consortium with the nation’s big lenders as its members, Banking Technology reported.

The Bank of Russia deputy governor Olga Skorobogatova said that the consortium includes consulting firm Accenture, B&N Bank, MDM Bank, HMB Otkritie and Tinkoff Bank.

Skorobogatova said: "We developed a technical prototype for message transmission via blockchain and will start testing it in real time with market participants shortly."

The deputy governor has also asked other banks, non-banking financial organisations and IT firms to join the consortium.

Skorobogatova was quoted by as saying: "Currently a number of major banks as well as several companies have confirmed participation in the consortium.

"We’ve created a technical prototype for a messaging system on the Blockchain and will be testing this with market participants shortly."

Blockchains, which are online ledgers to record transactions, have gained prominence following the growing popularity for the digital currency bitcoin.

Distributed ledger technology is expected to help in completing financial transactions with greater speed, security, cost-efficiency and transparency compared to the existing system.

QIWI CEO Sergey Solonin said: "Blockchain allows for long-standing problems in the finance sector to be resolved, as well as changing the setup for all sorts of relationships between market players."

In June, the Bank of Canada also said that it was experimenting a blockchain-based payment transfer system in partnership with R3 CEV, a consortium of major global banks, and the Canadian Payments Association.

The Canadian central bank said that they are studying the technology to create an interbank payment system to replace existing legacy systems.

The bank said it was also experimenting with digital currency called CAD-COIN, SiliconANGLE reported.

Image: Central Bank of Russia, Neglinnaya Street, Moscow. Photo courtesy of NVO/Wikipedia.