Russia’s former Minister of Economics and Trade, Herman Gref, has spoken out in favour of cryptocurrencies and their transformational nature as a future threat to the financial sector’s status quo.

Gref, who was Russian Economics minister between 2000 and 2007 is CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of the largest Russian bank Sberbank. In a recent forum, he suggested that over time centralised money supply models would give way to new innovations.

However, Gref did suggest that such change would take time and certainly wasn’t imminent, although he felt that blockchain adoption was a much nearer prospect. Cryptocurrency adoption would, in his view, take another decade before it could offer a challenge to current banking systems, commenting that, as yet“… it’s not likely that any state is ready to part with the centralised money supply model.”

Talking of DLT the ex-minister suggested that the significance of the new technology is starting to find its way into financial systems’ collective sub-consciousness as more applications for it are revealed each day:

“The technology is not ready now. When will it be ready? In my opinion, three to five years. If you ask me in five years, maybe I can say something more distinct about its place, but the potential is huge.”

Gref argued that over-regulation of the cryptocurrency space was a sure and certain way of stifling innovation, suggesting that instead, the technology needs time to develop and grow. It was also refreshing to hear that the CEO is putting his money where his mouth is and applying blockchain technologies to the state-owned financial service provider’s own future plans. In his words, in the aftermath of the hype of 2017, the industry can now benefit from a “balanced consideration and evaluation of this technology.”

It is encouraging to hear a major figure at the helm of a major state financial institution making no mention of money laundering, fraud or of the financing of illegal activity in connection with a discussion on the future of cryptocurrency.

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