The formation of a Russian blockchain consortium was announced at the XXV International Financial Congress in St Petersburg.

The members of the consortium are: QIWI Group, Accenture, BINBANK, MDM Bank, Bank Otkritie, Tinkoff Bank.

These major companies in Russia’s financial sector have formed a consortium for joint exploration and implementation of blockchain technology and its derivatives. This is after the Central Bank of Russia’s officials invited banks to the broader discussion on crypto technologies development in Russia.

The blockchain consortium will represent Russia’s first collaboration platform across innovative and distributed technologies and will focus on the creation and implementation of the most advanced technological solutions in the field of financial services.

Members will engage in joint development and testing of prototypes, standardization of technology as well as opening the doors for technology for all market participants. In addition, an significant part of the consortium’s activities will be technological harmonization of Russian blockchain movement with the global one, launching an open communicative platform for the market participants and the regulator, raising the level of public knowledge and confidence in the financial services based on blockchain, according to the group.

Creating and testing the first prototypes are scheduled to begin later this year. Elaboration of legal regulation, the introduction of ultimate financing solutions to the market and global integration will follow.

QIWI is a major provider of next generation payment services in Russia and the CIS. It has an integrated proprietary network that enables payment services across physical, online and mobile channels. It has deployed over 16.1 million virtual wallets, over 167,000 kiosks and terminals, and enabled merchants to accept over RUB 66 billion cash and electronic payments monthly from over 62 million consumers using its network at least once a month. QIWI’s consumers can use cash, stored value and other electronic payment methods to order and pay for goods and services across physical or online environments interchangeably.

B&N Bank is one of Russia’s largest privately-owned banks. Founded in 1993, B&N Bank offers a wide range of corporate banking services (including lending to large corporate clients & SMEs, payment and account services, international settlements, trade finance and ECA-backed finance, payroll services and leasing), retail banking services (including deposits, credit and debit cards, overdraft facilities, car, consumer and mortgage loans) and financial markets activities.

Khanty-Mansiysk Otkritie Bank is one of Russia’s largest full-service retail banks, ranking by assets among TOP-15 financial lending institutions of the country. The Bank focuses on retail and small business clients.

Khanty-Mansiysk Otkritie Bank is double-branded: it continues as the Bank of Khanty-Mansiysk in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District where the brand awareness is high and operates as Otkritie Bank across the rest of Russia. In November 2014, Otkritie Group completed the reorganisation of its retail banking business as Otkritie Bank and the Novosibirsk Municipal Bank were merged into the Bank of Khanty-Mansiysk. The reorganized bank was renamed Khanty-Mansiysk Otkritie Bank.