Bitcoin rival ethereum can make Russia global hub for blockchain technology

Bitcoin rival ethereum can make Russia global hub for blockchain technology
Russia can become a world leader in blockchain, a technology that could revolutionize the financial sector. RT interviewed ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin and the currency's representative in Russia Vladislav Martynov.

World leadership could be achieved with the assistance of ethereum, a decentralized computing platform, and its limitless applications, according to Buterin.

Ethereum has become such a popular cryptocurrency it is now the world’s second-largest after bitcoin, with a capitalization of $32 billion.

According to the founder, blockchain is not just about cryptocurrencies, but the technology has wider applications. While cryptocurrencies have earned a questionable reputation, the blockchain ledger behind them has tremendous potential to simplify transactions in a variety of industries.

Buterin, who met President Putin on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in June, told RT that ethereum has huge expansion plans for Russia.

The company's representative in Russia Martynov added that “in five years Russia could become a global center for blockchain expertise. The country plans to attract and teach programmers blockchain technology and then offer the world expertise.”

Ethereum intends to expand in Russia, he added.

“For example, ministries use a centralized IT system which is very expensive to maintain. The blockchain is decentralized and lets the government save money,” said Martynov.

“Second, there is little human factor in blockchain technology. The level of red tape and corruption will fall, because with people there’s always a risk for that.”

Buterin added that “such technology allows you to send money from South Korea to Kyrgyzstan, Crimea or Guatemala as if there were next door to you.”

When asked whether blockchain can hurt the global financial sector, Buterin pointed out that "people have switched from using gold to paper as money. Then they started using another kind of paper as money. Even if blockchain transforms the shape of the global economy, humanity will certainly live through it.”

The Russian-born inventor stressed that any new technology could be misused. However the positive will outweigh the negative in its long-term applications.

Buterin’s cryptocurrency ethereum has more than $32 billion in market capitalization.

Over the last twelve months, one ethereum has grown from $10 to about $350, a 3,500 percent surge in value.

Born in Kolomna in the Moscow region, Buterin emigrated with his parents to Canada, relocating to Singapore this year.