Under their cooperation agreement, the Vnesheconombank's Center for Blockchain Competencies and the Kaliningrad Region Government have set milestones for the pilot blockchain project for welfare benefits in the Kaliningrad Region and organised an educational course on distributed ledger technology (blockchain systems) for regional government authorities. About 70 people, including ministers, heads of regional agencies and deputy governors, received training. The trainees studied the fundamentals of cryptoeconomics and saw case studies on the use of blockchains in the economy and public administration, including projects completed by Vnesheconombank.
The training course is part of the region’s programme of cooperation with Vnesheconombank. During the Russian Investment Forum in Sochi in February 2018, Vnesheconombank’s Chairman Sergey Gorkov and Kaliningrad Region Governor Anton Alikhanov signed an agreement to implement, among other things, innovative IT solutions in the region.
This year, together with Vnesheconombank’s Center of Blockchain Competencies, the regional authorities intend to go digital technologies in the social sphere. Blockchain-based transactions will make it possible to simplify the process of dealing with applications for welfare benefits and control the documents and information necessary to provide such benefits. The pilot project involves the four most popular areas of social assistance requiring applications from individuals. These are subsidies for housing and utility services, child allowances, monthly family allowances and urgent targeted assistance to people in difficult situations. In addition, there are plans to test the new technology in paying annual family allowances to prepare children for school.
“Our project in the Kaliningrad region is in the social sphere, which is a basic focus of the state’s attention. The use of new technologies can substantially improve the quality of services. In addition, the introduction of blockchain technology will make it possible to bring down the expenditure of trillions of roubles in this area countrywide,” Vladimir Demin, Advisor to Vnesheconombank’s Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Vnesheconombank’s Centre of Blockchain Competencies, said.
“Distributed ledger technology will be operational this autumn and will be tested on the four most popular areas of social assistance. Blockchain technology can have multiple uses. For a start, we chose such important aspects as welfare benefits. We are about to prepare the project. We are planning to complete the project and make it accessible to all residents of the Kaliningrad region this autumn. We will continue to use multifunctional centres and other services provided by government authorities, but the system will respond much faster. The agencies will cut their operational costs and will speed up the retrieval and processing of applications. In the future, blockchain technology will help to find the misuse of welfare benefits,” Kaliningrad Region Governor Anton Alikhanov said.
Vnesheconombank encourages the development of a digital economy in high-priority areas. In an era of digitalisation, Russia has the great potential for becoming a global leader in various technological areas, including the blockchain.
“We set up Vnesheconombank’s Center of Blockchain Competencies as an ecosystem for companies that create blockchain products and solutions. Vnesheconombank helps them in many ways. For example, we provide expert assistance for creating methodologies and validating architecture of solutions. In addition, we will finance the most significant pilot projects, which can later be replicated nationwide. The Center of Blockchain Competencies has currently about 50 blockchain projects, such as solutions intended for petroleum traders, public utilities, energy retailers and insurance companies. The Center of Blockchain Competencies is working on several projects to introduce blockchains into Russia’s public administration. For example, they include the project to switch the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography over to blockchain technology, the project implemented jointly with the Agency for Housing Mortgage Lending to switch shared ownership agreements over to blockchains, the project to provide subsidised medications for residents of the Novgorod Region,” Vnesheconombank’s Senior Vice-President for Innovation Gleb Yun said.