Russia has recently announced several initiatives aimed at rivaling China's current lead in Blockchain technology. The Russian National Settlement Depository (NSD) made another such announcement today, advancing a Blockchain-based platform which will offer deposit and settlement services for digital currencies. The NSD is the central depository for the Moscow Exchange, the biggest exchange group in Russia.

According to the NSD, the prototype of the service will be launched in the first half of 2018. NSD will be collaborating with the Waves Platform for this launch. Using Waves, the NSD will create a digital currency wallet that will be available for banks, pension funds and retail investors.

In his statement, NSD Executive Board chairperson Eddie Astanin outlined their goals:

"Our goal is to create a secure and user-friendly accounting infrastructure for digital assets. We consider the platform would not only provide technological and legal protection of all parties involved but also extend a variety of post-trade services for investors, custodians and new institutions emerging in this sector of the economy."

Possible challenges to the project’s implementation

Waves Platform officials claimed that the scheme is technologically feasible, but there are regulatory uncertainties that could temporarily or permanently prevent its deployment.

According to Wave’s founder and CEO, Sasha Ivanov, one of the key challenges is whether the NSD would be lawfully authorized to deal with digital assets. This is a crucial question because there is little concrete regulation in Russia, with much being left open to interpretation. Ivanov says:

"Project implementation depends not only on technical development but on the development of a legislative framework that mitigates the risks of crypto asset ownership and ensures that the service is user-friendly.”