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Role of the state in blockchain: to regulate or be a part of the process?

Alexei SOLOVYEV, CEO at QIWI Blockchain Technologies

Emergence of cryptocurrency and blockchain has unleashed anarchic moods in a society. Some people even say that soon there will be no necessity of regulators, civil servants and so on. Will this scenario be possible when people's interaction becomes blockchain-based?

At the dawn of the appearance of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, such anarchists’ sentiments were mainly among enthusiasts and technological visionaries. Business and society reacted more restrainedly. It’s worth noting that the process of studying the possibilities of using blockchain in the financial and other sectors of economics continues to this day. In turn, the society in the broadest sense of the word still associates blockchain mainly with crypto-currencies, bitcoin in particular. In this respect, the direct interaction of people thanks to the blockchain has already been fully realized. As a vivid example, one can cite the same cryptocurrency mining, transfers between the owners of such currencies, crypto-exchanges, ICO. All these processes take place without direct participation of the state, on mutual trust of a society or, at least, its part. Greater involvement from the state and the adoption of blockchain at the level of state administration, relations with business, paradoxically, can improve the level of technological interaction within society, which will be based on blockchain. It is important to understand that the state should not simply regulate blockchain, it needs to become a participant in this process and more widely use blockchain in its internal relationships and external – with society and business, with other countries as well. So now, we see that the scenario you are talking about is being realized only in certain spheres of interaction, its expansion to other spheres and audiences is just a matter of time.

A while ago the whole financial sector spoke about blockchain and prospects of its use in the financial sphere. However we haven't seen major blockchain-based projects so far. What are the reasons for it? This technology itself can not be broadly used? Maybe there are no specialists or appropriate legislation? Or the financial world realized that it might lose a part of its power and does its best to drag down implementation of this technology. What attitudes are dominating in the financial world towards blockchain technology? What are the successful blockchain-based projects and what projects failed? Why? (in Russia and around the world).

I do not agree that we did not see major blockchain based projects. It is enough to give an example of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Ethereum, Waves and many others platforms. The financial sector has long been not just talking about blockchain, but actively exploring it and already partially using it in various areas – from payment processing, bank guarantees, letters of credit to insurance, leasing, KYC procedures. The financial world, on the contrary, is at the forefront of the implementation of blockchain, being perfectly aware of its potential and effect on reducing costs and increasing the speed of financial transactions. Thanks to the financial sector, now we see how blockchain spreads to the adjacent markets – transport, medicine, government. We can agree that the process is slower than we all wanted, but this is reality. With the advent of open blockchain platforms and solutions based on Masterchain, Corda, Fabric and others during this and next year, the penetration rate of this technology into everyday life will increase many-fold.

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