Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and Vnesheconombank Chairman Sergei Gorkov signed a partnership agreement between the bank and the Ethereum Foundation.

On August 29, 2017, at a ceremony that took place during the “Blockchain: New Oil of Russia” conference, Russian state-sponsored development bank Vnesheconombank and the Ethereum Foundation entered into an agreement to work together to develop a distributed registry and Ethereum platform, grow an expert Ethereum community, and implement  training and educational programs at Vnesheconombank’s Competence Center, Which is set to open in September 2017 at the National University of Science and Technology in Moscow.

Speaking about the partnership, Vitalik Buterin, who signed the agreement on behalf of the Ethereum Foundation, said, “Cooperation between Ethereum and VEB gives a unique opportunity to engage in research and development on the use of blockchain technology for public administration and accelerate the adaptation of this technology to government organizations in the Russian Federation.”

The Russian government’s position on blockchain technology has gone back and forth.  In some instances, government agencies have encouraged the development of blockchain technology, such as the partnership between Vnesheconombank and the Ethereum Foundation. However, occasional backslides have occurred, such as deputy finance minister Alexei Moiseev’s recent statements claiming that cryptocurrencies pose a risk to Russian consumers.

Vnesheconombank Chairman Sergei Gorkov appears to not share Moiseev’s hesitancy, and instead is focused on realizing the benefits of blockchain technology:

“We unite the efforts of all interested parties and create the first Competence Center in Russia for state companies and authorities, forming an ecosystem of innovations. Their skills and achievements here will bring both Russian developers and world leaders in innovative breakthrough industries. We are pleased to supplement VEB’s experience and expertise with the competence of Ethereum, the leading developer of block-based platforms.”

When the Competence Center officially opens in September, ETHNews will provide additional coverage.

Jeremy Nation is a writer living in Los Angeles with interests in technology, human rights, and cuisine. He is a full time staff writer for ETHNews and holds value in Ether.

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