Gazprom and Blockchain: Do They Go Well Together?

 
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Gazprom, Russia’s gas and oil production giant, is developing blockchain tech to power its business operations. Not only does Gazprom extract and produce natural gas but it also transports it throughout Europe. The company whose majority shares are owned by its government is the third supplier of gas to the E.U.  The company’s revenue to its government makes  9 percent of the Russian GDP.

Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian prime minister, was briefed on Gazprom’s smart contract initiative by Alexey Miller, the company’s Chairman. He commended the company’s digitization efforts adding that that “this technology has a good future in our industry and in the activities of such companies as Gazprom.”

Read: Russia and China To Become Major Blockchain Players

The novel blockchain platform created in collaboration with Russia’s third largest bank Gazprombank aims to automate the company’s real-world contracts execution. It, in essence, will automate the whole process of entering, monitoring and executing smart contracts. In like manner, it will also oversee arbitration and gas payments as well, in tamper proof and protected system.

Miller added that the oil giant was also in the process of employing blockchain tech to streamline its other arms, more so its supply chain operations. “As for digitalization, we are working towards it, especially towards the digitalization of the gas supply process and the implementation of the distributed ledger technology in our operations,” he added. Word is not yet out regarding Gazprom’s blockchain core architecture.

Gazprom’s Tussles with the EU

In 2018, Gazprom dodged a hefty fine after regulators from the EU brought a seven-year investigation into its operations to an end. Gazprom, in turn, promised to undertake reforms that would “remove obstacles created by Gazprom, which stand in the way of the free flow of gas in Central and Eastern Europe,” Margrethe Vestager, the EU Competition Commissioner said. Gazprom’s foray into the blockchain arena could, therefore, be its vehicle to efficiently meeting its end of the deal with the EU.

Also Read: Russia’s Dramatic Internet ‘Cut-Off’ Experiment From Global Network

The business entity, however, is not a greenhorn when it comes to things blockchain. Gazpromneft-Aero, Gazprom’s aviation refueling arm for instance enacted smart contracts and blockchain technology to help automate fuel supply planning and accounting procedures. Similarly, Gazprombank is also hinting at the prospect of creating a cryptocurrency trading avenue for its wealthy clientele.

The Russian Government’s Acceptance of Blockchain Technology

Kremlin has increasingly grown bearish towards blockchain and is consequently, going to great lengths to facilitate its adoption. Vladimir Putin has rallied Russians on the “need to build our own digital platforms,” sparking more interest in both blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

It is no wonder then that Vladislav Ginko almost successfully sold the rumor that the Russian government was going Bitcoin. He is now attacking the current market capitalization yardstick asking the market to quit pricing bitcoin in fiat. Well in an ideal world where hyperbitcoinization was a reality, his sentiments would make sense, but till then the market is stuck, pricing cryptocurrencies in fiat. It is the only way to transact and realize profits in a fiat driven economy.

Sideshows aside, Igor Yusufov, the Russian minister of energy agreed to a launch of an oil pegged cryptocurrency. This blockchain backed coin would enable Russia to beat trade sanctions. Anatoly Aksakov, a Russian politician, has likewise, pushed for a ruble backed crypto coin while Alexey Moiseyev the Russian Deputy Finance minister disclosed that Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Belarus which makes the EEU or Eurasian Economic Union was out to create their own joint cryptocurrency.