Russian analog of SWIFT ready for testing on the blockchain
Russia prepares to test a blockchain-based system it developed to replace SWIFT.
Russian state-owned company Rostec announced that its alternative solution to SWIFT based on blockchain technology is now ready for testing.
The blockchain platform, dubbed CELLS, was developed by the Novosibirsk Institute of Software Systems (NIPS), a Rostec affiliate.
Last February, Russian banks were excluded from the SWIFT interbank payment system by the decision of the European Commission and its allies. The maneuver was intended to hit the country's banking network and its access to funds via SWIFT, which is pivotal for the smooth transaction of money worldwide.
Read more: Why cutting Russia from SWIFT is bad for the west
“The digital payment system on the blockchain platform can be used as a full-fledged replacement for SWIFT, providing high speed, security and irrevocable transactions. The system will make it possible to switch to settlements in national currencies, eliminate the risk of sanctions and ensure the independence of the national financial policy for clearing participants” - Oleg Yevtushenko, Executive Director of Rostec Group.
Hence the government organization Rostec, which brings together several local companies in the tech sector, announced last month that it was developing a system to allow international bank payments, and a pilot version was ready for testing and can now be used in banks.
This type of solution already exists, particularly in China. The country launched its international interbank payment system in 2015, called CIPS.
So far, operators from the National Technology Initiative Platform (NTI) reported that the load testing shows good performance, with the product's design speed reaching over 25,000 messages per second on one node, with the potential of leading to further growth.
Unlike the SWIFT technology, CELLS does not use classic blockchain but rather a three-tiered architecture in which a distributed register is signed and distributed in a certain way. Hence, the system is able to scale up and connect a large number of new users.