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Sberbank made transaction on oil supply through blockchain

Customers: Sberbank

Moscow; Financial services, investments and audit

Product: Projects based on blockchain technology

Project date: 2014/03  - 2017/09


Sberbank carried out the transaction on an oil supply by means of a blockchain

At the beginning of September, 2019 Sberbank carried out the transaction on an oil supply by means of a blockchain. The first deputy chairman of the board of credit institution Alexander Vedyakhin  told TASS about it on the sidelines of East economic forum.

We  made the first transaction through a blockchain with  Trafigura, the leader of international market of raw materials, and  we are going to develop this technology  further  — he reported.

Within this transaction Sberbank purchased  receivables of the large Turkish buyer from the Singapore company. Besides, partners agreed on financing terms and  performed calculation with  display of the status  online.

Sberbank concluded the first bargain through a blockchain from the Singapore Trafigura
Sberbank concluded the first bargain through a blockchain from the Singapore Trafigura

Use of a blockchain allowed to reduce operational risks, term of approval of documents and  labor costs of the parties on  transaction, the first deputy chairman of board of Sberbank noted.

In  our  "pilot" the blockchain fixes each step  of the transaction: a request for  the debt buyback, consideration of the request in  bank, the direction of the offer from  bank, confirmation of conditions from  Trafigura, the conclusion of the transaction — Alexander Vedyakhin says. —  As a result process is reduced from  one day  to  an hour. I believe that  similar transactions with  use of blockchain technology  — the ideal solution for  business which makes transactions with  a large number of participants.

 The head of Sberbank German Gref  repeatedly said that the organization stakes on application of blockchain technology. According to him, within 10 years the global economy will strongly change thanks to its implementation.

Sberbank is going to develop this technology as it allows to optimize business processes and  to considerably increase efficiency of document flow. Also bank  the blockchain considers the possibility of expansion of the list of partners in use.[1]

Sberbank refuses the MasterChain platform

On July 3, 2019 it became known that Sberbank was disappointed in created under aegis Central Bank blockchain- the platform "MasterChain" (Masterchain) and it intends to use further its international analogs, though will not wind down the projects which are already earlier started on it. The director told a blockchain laboratory of Sberbank about it Oleg Abdrashitov. In more detail here.

2018: Sberbank started a blockchain laboratory

On January 11, 2018 Sberbank reported that it opened a blockchain laboratory. She will investigate the latest technologies in the field of a blockchain, to create and offer the ideas on development of solutions on their base, to create prototypes of products, to carry out pilot projects and to implement applied business solutions for Sberbank.

The laboratory will cooperate also with other market participants, to give support to startups, a message information and educational activities on promoting of technology of a blockchain.

Blockchain specialists in the market are not enough, especially such which have experience of creation of the industrial systems? note in Sberbank\' (a photo -\'
Blockchain specialists in the market are not enough, especially such which have experience of creation of the industrial systems? note in Sberbank' (a photo -'
The blockchain can significantly change many fields of business relating to financial market to classical activity of bank and our clients — the bank cites words of the senior vice president of Sberbank, the head of Sberbank CIB Igor Bulantsev. - Mastering, development and implementation of the most perspective technologies are not only important element of our competitiveness as bank, but also an obligatory part of our future as technology company.

Bulantsev added that a blockchain — the instrument of increase in efficiency of interaction between market participants. Thus, creating a blockchain laboratory, Sberbank makes the contribution to the future of the bank industry and the country, he considers.

At the time of opening of laboratory strategy of its work is developed and activity priorities are defined, the bank representative of TAdviser reported. The interlocutor noted that problem solving, the platforms and technologies connected with "youth" will become one of key activities of laboratory.

We have constantly working projects bringing benefit for business, for example the solution for factoring. But it is impossible to consider them completely industrial so far, - he emphasized.

How many in laboratory will be the employees, the representative of Sberbank did not specify. He emphasized that blockchain specialists in the market are not enough, especially such which have experience of creation of the industrial systems.

In Sberbank there are already several specialists combining such skills. Besides, the bank will continue search in the market, - he explained TAdviser.


The Russia's first payment blockchain transaction

Sberbank in November, 2017 became the organizer of carrying out the first in the history of the Russian banking practice pilot payment a blockchain transaction using the IBM Blockchain platform based on HyperLedger Fabric. MegaFon, "Megalabs", Alfa-Bank and also IBM company acted as partners of Sberbank and participants of pilot transaction. In more detail about the project you look here.

15 different pilot projects

From 2014 to 2017 Sberbank started about 15 different pilot projects connected with blockchain technology. Some of them did not gain further development and were stopped, and some turned into commercial operation and bank began to profit from it. The project director of the Center of technology innovations of Sberbank Dmitry Bulychkov told about it at the TsIPR conference in Innopolis in May, 2017.

We see that implementation of a blockchain allows us to accelerate transaction and a number of processes, to increase transparency and reliability. At the same time development, implementation and operation costs little enough in comparison with centralized systems, - Bulychkov noted

The representative of the Center of innovations of Sberbank noted that Sberbank does not try to apply blockchain technology everywhere. It is used where the publicity, peer-to-peer (P2P) services, fixing and a possibility of the proof of the invariance of information, etc. is necessary.

Exchange of bonuses

One of projects where Sberbank tried to use blockchain technology, - the exchange of bonuses. It was based on color coins bitcoin which appropriated the value of different bonuses: for example, the Thanks programs from Sberbank, Aeroflot, X5 Retail Group shops. Technically it worked, but in terms of business the idea did not fly up, and it was left till the best times, Dmitry Bulychkov says.

Currency exchange through tokens

One more problem project - implementation of currency exchange through tokens when it is possible to purchase a token in Russia for rubles, and, having arrived to other country, to sell it there for local currency. At the same time money, it turns out, do not even cross border. Regulatory problems prevented to develop this project.

Use of a blockchain in an eskroa

One of the most interesting projects the representative of Sberbank calls use of a blockchain in an eskroa - the service giving guarantees, for example, upon purchase of the apartment or purchase on the Internet that all transactions will be carried out by participants at the same time. About one and a half-two years ago, when Sberbank piloted this project, the state was not ready to discuss it, Bulychkov tells. But everything quickly changes, and, perhaps, it will be shortly possible to discuss such services, he hopes.

The distributed document flow

Successful projects with a blockchain in Sberbank are not connected with financial services. One of them - the distributed document flow which was already tested with a number of partners. Among them - FAS. The platform on a basis a blockchain allows to exchange documents in encrypted form by means of technology of the distributed register. Documents remain in a local copy of a distributed database and are replicated by standard mechanisms. Transactions with documents are noted in a blockchain, and data on transactions are replicated by standard means of software on which it is constructed.

In the middle of October, 2016 Sberbank and FAS Russia started a pilot project of Digital Ecosystem on exchange of documents on the basis of blockchain technology. As reported in bank, a project objective — to study possibilities of the distributed document storage which can increase speed, reliability and quality of interaction at exchange of them. Thanks to such model documents can be transferred and stored in encrypted form and also to use the electronic signature.

The innovation of the Digital Ecosystem project is that at document flow telecom operators are not used. The convenience of the solution and expense reduction are reached due to use of networks of participants — the managing director of directorate of the distributed services of Sberbank Stepan Kuznetsov reported.

The deputy manager of FAS Russia Andrey Tsarikovsky noted: "The decentralized solution reduces costs — data processing centers are not required, requirements for reservation of the equipment are reduced".

The companies "Aeroflot", "Russian Coal", Forteinvest participate in the project. What their role and whether they were connected already to document flow on the basis of a blockchain, in Sberbank do not comment. No details of the project are disclosed yet, in particular, based on what technology a system becomes and whether there were already first transactions.

"They [Sberbank is an editor's note] by and large try "otpilotirovat" technology to understand how it works as with it to live. There is a mass of nuances in technology therefore some number of years will leave on a running in", – says a source of TAdviser in one of the largest Russian banks.
The blockchain closed (permissioned) without the built-in cryptocurrency is, in fact, a distributed database in which the invariance of information is guaranteed. For the purposes of interdepartmental electronic document management it is the suitable solution, – the co-founder of Lykke company Sergey Ivliyev, the manager of the Russia's first laboratory of cryptoeconomy and a blockchain systems at the Perm university (PGNIU) says. - Of course, it is possible to use traditional databases. Moreover, when using a blockchain they will lose in the speed of implementation of transactions. A blockchain - essentially new technology which allows to save invariable "the version of the truth" - the history of transactions, changes.

The chief innovation officer of Otkrytiye bank (enters into the Russian group on a blockchain research) Alexey Blagirev notes that it is necessary to separate infrastructure projects from product in which there will be a competition.

"The introduced draft infrastructure in this respect, and, certainly, will be very useful to bank community, – he considers. – Here very specific case on reduction of number of intermediaries in the course of work with documents among the different companies is solved".

Alexey Blagirev believes that despite closed a blockchain system, new members will be added to it, and participants will be able to provide services and for the third-party companies.

"Pochemu bank does a blockchain only for work with documents so far, but not with monetary transactions? It is possible to assume what is what is at the moment worked out. On monetary transactions for bank there is neither legislation, nor especially infrastructure yet, – says a source of TAdviser in the field of development of blockchain technology. – In Sberbank actively and long ago study technology, they seriously undertook this subject".

According to a source, at some point in Sberbank even stopped all IT developments to understand in what of them it is reasonable to use a blockchain.

Verification of deliveries through blockchain M.Video and Sberbank Factoring

One more "flown-up" project is implemented by "subsidiary" of Sberbank "Sberbank Factoring" and M.Video. In their interaction there was a problem of reconciliation of documents on deliveries - it is the long process including a set of reconciliations, confirmations, etc. And as earlier tried to optimize and accelerate this process, the effect was insignificant.

Within a pilot project of the company tested loading of the register of deliveries, data encryption (hashing), their subsequent check and storage on blockchain technology. Deliveries which loads into the system of M.Video are ciphered and verified with data "Sberbank Factoring" for the subsequent financing of suppliers. The human factor is excluded from process of delivery confirmation — reconciliation of commercial data happens in the automatic mode. The platform compares the hashed data on deliveries: if they match at both participants, delivery is confirmed. Such approach allowed to accelerate process of reconciliation and to exclude risk of leak of commercially important data.

"Results of the pilot using blockchain in factoring transactions showed that this technology is equitable to the interests of all parties. Earlier check of the fact of shipment before carrying out payments happened in a format of correspondence or phone calls that inevitably led to time expenditure and created additional risks of loss of confidentiality. Automatic and safe data exchange and delivery confirmation allows to reduce financial risks for the factoring agent and accelerates settlings with suppliers that is extremely important for M.Video as we are interested in comfortable conditions of all financial transactions for our partners — the chief financial officer of M.Video Sokolova Ekaterina emphasized. — Blockchain reduced terms of confirmation of information, so, implementations of factoring payments till several o'clock from three days. Complete deployment of the project can be complete already by the end of the current year".

"At verification of deliveries in the current activity we use the data obtained on EDI technology (Electronic data interchange), however the successful project on piloting of blockchain showed obvious advantages: the technology allows to exchange, verify identifiers and the status on deliveries in those branches of the economy where exchange of electronic supporting documents on EDI technology is not implemented. Besides, the blockchain platform does not assume connection to providers of electronic document management that does the platform even more attractive due to the easy integration which is not requiring signing of the contract with operators and the organizations of data storage — Kultygin Leonid, the operating officer of Sberbank Factoring company specified. — Transfer of all pool of suppliers of M.Video to blockchain-technology within factoring service is a next stage of the joint project. Further we plan replication of service of the 'hashed' verification with buyers of the different industries and segments which do not use technology of exchange of EDI documents".

Information exchange about swindlers between banks

Among the working projects also - information exchange about swindlers between banks. For this purpose to construct a centralized system it did not turn out, and banks apprehended the decentralized approach on blockchain technology positively, the representative of Sberbank says. According to him, data exchange about swindlers with use a blockchain as of the middle of 2017 includes several banks and some telecom operators. Security services of banks with this enthusiasm use, Dmitry Bulychkov says.

Among solutions which Sberbank applies a blockchain to creation, - the Ripple platform which has both own protocol, and open source the protocol. Bulychkov noted that he inclines to use of open solutions more.


Sberbank began hunting for specialists in a blockchain and Big Data

Sberbank needs the qualified IT specialists, the head of bank German Gref reported at the beginning of December, 2016 during "direct line" with employees, reports the Prime agency.[2] For them in bank there are possibilities of the serious wages rise.

The head of Sberbank entices high salaries of specialists in a blockchain and Big Data. Photo: The Moscow Post
The head of Sberbank entices high salaries of specialists in a blockchain and Big Data. Photo: The Moscow Post

Gref noted that the bank needs, in particular, specialists in the field of Big Data and also a developer blockchain. According to him, pros in these directions will have high value in bank, and, unlike other employees whose salary is regulated and is limited to the market, to these specialists the bank is ready to raise significantly salaries in process of accumulation of their competences.

Let's say those who are engaged in the analysis of Big Data. And there the skill level, of course, has very serious value for the work pay level. And there is, of course, also an opportunity to increase the competence, and, respectively, very seriously grow on the work pay level, – Gref reported.

Also it concerns specialists in the field of a blockchain. In bank the laboratory on a research of this technology, laboratory on artificial intelligence, etc. is created.

All these expert branches, of course, will be paid absolutely differently in process of promotion in the professional competence of those people who work there, – Gref told.

German Gref mentioned more than once that he considers blockchain technology very perspective therefore the bank is ready to invest in their development.

For the last year Sberbank showed big interest blockchain technology. Since fall of 2015 he actively undertook its studying, and at the end of September, 2016 announced the first international transaction through the new platform on its basis. The bank was included already into several consortia, engaged in development of this technology: in particular, in September, 2016 joined Hyperledger into which the largest players of world financial market and the leading IT companies enter (London Stock Exchange, SWIFT, Moscow Exchange, IBM, Cisco, Intel, etc.).

In the fall of 2016 Sberbank participated in the first transactions between banks (tested a MasterChain – a prototype a blockchain service for data exchange about clients) and also together with FAS Russia started a pilot project of Digital Ecosystem on exchange of documents on the basis of blockchain technology.

As for Big Data development, at the beginning of 2016 Sberbank invested in the developer specializing in it is GridGain Systems company (GridGain). Gref characterized it as the company, "who won the tender against Oracle, IBM and others, it appeared 10 times more these largest companies" (in more detail - in the separate article).

Besides, in November, 2016 Sberbank started the Open Data project based on Big Data technologies [1] (in more detail).

The first transactions between banks in testing of a MasterChain

At the beginning of October, 2016 Sberbank participated in the first transactions between banks when they tested a MasterChain – a prototype a blockchain service for data exchange about clients. It was created by Cinimex company based on Ethereum technology.

The first international transaction on the basis of a blockchain

At the end of September, 2016 the subsidiary company of Sberbank "Business environment" announced the first international transaction through the new platform on the basis of a blockchain.[3] Details of this project too are not disclosed yet.

Participation in several consortia on development a blockchain

At this time Sberbank is included already into several consortia, engaged in development of this technology. In September, 2016 it joined the international blockchain consortium Hyperledger into which the largest players of world financial market and the leading IT companies enter (for example, London Stock Exchange, SWIFT, Moscow Exchange, IBM, Cisco, Intel, etc.). In October at the forum Finopolis 2016 the Bank of Russia announced creation of consortium "Fintekh" where about ten large banks of the country will enter.

2015: Management of the account through the power of attorney on the Ethereum platform

The head of Sberbank German Gref repeatedly said that behind a blockchain the future and this technology it is capable to invert the sphere of finance.

In December, 2015 the bank began the project on the Ethereum platform, having applied technology at management of the account through the power of attorney (the following functionality was implemented: issue of the power of attorney, its withdrawal, search of powers of attorney and work with the account on the basis of the power of attorney).[4]