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Russian state-owned lender Sberbank has launched a blockchain laboratory dedicated to research in the field of distributed ledger technology (DLT), according to a press release published on its official site.

The lab will work closely with blockchain and fintech startups, associations, and communities to develop plans for the implementation and promotion of the technology. It will also create educational programs and conduct pilot tests.

“Blockchain can significantly change many business areas related to the financial market and the traditional activities of the bank and our customers,” said Sberbank CIB senior VP Igor Bulantsev.

“The assimilation, development, and implementation of the most promising technologies are not only an essential element of our competitiveness as a bank but also an indispensable part of our future as a technology company. It is important to note that blockchain is an instrument that supports the effectiveness of interaction between market participants. Thus, in creating a blockchain laboratory, Sberbank is contributing to the future of the banking industry and our country,” he added.

Currently, Sberbank is involved in more than 20 blockchain-oriented experiments.

We reported earlier that the Russian bank has succeeded in a blockchain pilot where it conducted a transaction using IBM’s technology. According to Stella Kudachkina, managing director of Sberbank CIB, the experiment was the first of its kind in Russia.

It seems that Sberbank is at the forefront of blockchain implementation in the country. In October 2017, it became the first Russian group to enter the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) - a non-profit organization that explores Ethereum’s blockchain for different use cases.

According to an online survey conducted by Waves in November, 15% of the respondents saw Russia as a crypto and blockchain market leader in 2018, which puts it in the top 3. Japan got 27% of votes, and South Korea finished with 15%.