Media reports have indicated that state-owned Russian Railway company RZD has plans to implement blockchain applications, smart contracts, and ticket sales, according to Bitcoin.com.
Several publications in recent months have suggested that RZD, self-named as “The Strongest Link in Eurasia”, may even start a cryptocurrency paid ticketing service. The company ranks itself as among the top three railways systems in the world.
In order for RZD to bring its plans to fruition, it will need to comply with Russia’s somewhat punitive current stance on cryptocurrency. If the Russian Duma’s new plans to liberate cryptocurrency from current legislation eventuate, this could offer the railway more scope to bring its planned projects closer to reality.
The Duma, parliament’s lower house, has to date supported the first reading of three draft law bills – ‘On Digital Financial Assets’, ‘On Attracting Investments Using Investment Platforms’ and ‘On Digital Rights’. The bills, which would relax current cryptocurrency regulation, are expected to be made law by the end of this month.
Independent IT expert Pavel Tarentyev such new laws could work very much in the State Railway’s favor, commenting:
“In view of the forthcoming adoption of the drafts, which entail the possibility to exchange digital financial assets with rubles and [foreign] currencies, OAO ‘RZD’ plans to introduce decentralized storage of data based on blockchain technology and implement smart contracts.”
He added that RZD also hopes to use the technology for storing important information relating to its transportation services and to reduce the costs of its logistics services.
Last month. the head of RZD’s IT department, Evgeniy Charkin, had said that such plans were seriously being considered and Oleg Belozerov, director general of the company, has indicated that the company is already digitizing many of its systems.
Online companies such as Destinia are already offering crypto ticketing around the world, offering tickets for railway systems in Spain, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the UK, France, Portugal, Canada, and the US.
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