Crypto Star Won’t Shine Bright for Another Decade, Sberbank Chief Says

German Gref, the CEO of Russian state-owned lender Sberbank, does not see cryptos as living up to their early promise, at least not in the next ten years.

There is no bright future for digital currencies, at least over the next decade, according to German Gref, head of Russian state-owned banking giant Sberbank. He offered his views on the nascent industry in a speech at the Forum of Financial Innovation Technologies (Finopolis), local media outlet RIA Novosti reports.

Rationalizing his gloomy forecasts, Gref pointed out that states are not willing to part with the centralized system of money supply, which spells a dead end for cryptocurrencies, at least over a 10-year horizon.

"No state will concede its centralized power and let cryptocurrency take its place though I am all for distributed models in different areas, including money supply," Sberbank's chief elaborated.

Meanwhile, he is very positive about the underlying blockchain technology and its massive potential, saying it is worth developing and deploying. However, Gref believes it is still immature and not ready for real-life use cases.

"This concept is still not ready. When will it become mature? Probably in 3-5 years… Anyway, it looks very promising as the philosophy behind this concept drastically changes ways we do things. The development of this technology can bring value both to business and the society," Gref opined.

Now that the hype around blockchain has subsided, the way is open for a more balanced and cool-headed approach to the technology. Sberbank is experimenting with blockchain, which the bank sees as highly promising both for the financial sector and governance, Gref admitted.

Despite his somewhat critical opinion, the CEO opposes a total cryptocurrency ban as it may hamper the development of the underlying technology and damage a lot of companies’ work with distributed ledger systems. He emphasized that blockchain development is not a costly affair for society due to its self-financing feature.

"That's why we need to find the golden mean between killing the promising technology and feeding speculations," he added.

Back in April, Gref blasted cryptocurrencies as immature and overvalued, hyped by people looking to make a quick buck.