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The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2016 recognised blockchain as one of the ten most promising technologies globally, as it can fundamentally change the markets, public administration, and even day-to-day lives of ordinary people. The distributed ledger market is growing by over 50% a year, while the exchange rate of the bitcoin, a cryptocurrency harnessing the blockchain technology, has risen by nearly four times since the beginning of 2016. In Russia, it was the banks that spearheaded the adoption of the new solution. In March 2017, Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's Prime Minister, suggested applying blockchain for the purposes of the national economy.
Blockchain is a decentralised digital ledger of transaction data that can be used to create multiple copies through P2P file sharing. The encrypted database copies are stored by each of the transaction parties and consequently cannot be altered or stolen. Hence, blockchain helps to enhance transparency and safety by excluding intermediaries from the transaction confirmation and registration processes.
According to Transparency Market Research, a US-based analytical company, the global blockchain market (the revenues of distributed technology companies) will grow from USD 316 million as at the start of 2016 to USD 20 billion in 2024. Currently, it expands at an annual rate of 50–60%.
The bitcoin cryptocurrency is also rapidly gaining traction, with its exchange rate on the upward path and the sphere of its legitimate application expanding.
The Russian Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank believe that in Russia transactions with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies may be legalised by 2018. Alexei Moiseev, Deputy Minister of Finance, insists that such legalisation should be part of a wider drive to crack down on illegal money transfers, as the Government needs to know each party of the financial transactions. However, both companies and regulators are already busy developing blockchain solutions.
In March 2017, during a meeting with Deputy Prime Ministers, Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's Prime Minister, said that a wide use of the blockchain technology in the Russian economy would help fight bureaucracy: "[This technology] excludes intermediaries, and the authenticity of operations is confirmed by network users themselves. As there is no unified data repository and the data are split into blocks, it would be impossible to rewrite this information or somehow infiltrate it without the consent of other parties."