This week:

  1. More details on blockchain in Russia;
  2. Tajikistan limits the ICT use to prevent crimes;
  3. Ukraine is developing a national cryptocurrency;
  4. The use of ICT in Eurasia is on the rise;
  5. Rankings of Eurasian States in the Global Innovation Index;
  6. No anonymity on IMs in Russia;
  7. A Smart City project pilot in Bishkek.

1. What Will Be the Role of Blockchain in the Russian “Digital Economy”?

The national program on “Digital Economy” will include four projects, based on the blockchain technologies: Vnesheconombank will introduce a document circulation system for credit investment transactions; Bank of Russia is to implement Masterchain – the Ethereum-based national system for bank clients; a unified automatic system of real estate transactions is executed by the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadaster, and Cartography; the Ministry of Finance will supervise treasury support of budget expenditures.

Experts that participated in the recent 2017 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum stated that in order to effectively introduce blockchain technologies the government must modernize the legislation.

DR comments: DR Analytica continues monitoring the development of the “Digital Economy” program that should be announced shortly.

2. Tajik Authorities Released New ICT Regulations to Prevent Crimes.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs in cooperation with the National Security Committee and Communications Service of Tajikistan prohibited users from purchasing more than two SIM cards from the same operator. This decision follows the previous initiative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to prohibit the use of SIMs by persons other than subscribers themselves. The authorities believe the move will help with preventing crimes and combating terrorism.

Also, the local authorities in Dushanbe, the national capital, introduced a ban on the presence of adolescents in Internet cafes at night. Visiting Internet cafes after 6 PM will be allowed only based on ID verification. The decision was made citing the need to protect young people and prevent crimes.

3. Ukraine Is Developing a National Cryptocurrency

The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) is developing a project to create a national cryptocurrency based on the blockchain technology. The intent is to create a nation-wide transparent and highly efficient retail payment platform with minimal transaction costs and an instant funds transfer.

DR comments: Earlier we announced that the Bank of Russia prepared a bill that considers cryptocurrencies as digital commodities, while the National Bank of Belarus is considering to legalize cryptocurrencies. If you have questions on cryptocurrencies and digital economies of Eurasia, contact DR Analytica.

4. What is the Dynamics of the Mobile and Internet Penetration in the Post-Soviet Space?

Almazbek Atambayev, President of the Kyrgyz Republic, stated that every third Kyrgyz public school will be connected to the global network by the end of 2017, and all Kyrgyz villages will get the broadband Internet access by 2020 as part of the Taza Koom National ICT project.

At the same time, a study by Ericsson showed that in Ukraine, a country with 42.5 million inhabitants, there were 58.2 million mobile subscriptions or 1.5 SIMs per person as of the beginning of 2017. Based on the current dynamics, Ericsson forecasts growth by almost 6 million subscribers by 2022.

Meanwhile, the World Bank announced that only 17% of Tajik residents have permanent access to the Internet.

5. Ukraine, Moldova, and Armenia Are Recognized as Efficient Innovators

According to the Global Innovation Index-2017, these three post-Soviet states were listed among the Efficient Innovators group. The best overall progress since 2016 was demonstrated by Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine who jumped by 8 and 6 positions respectively, while the worst dynamics were observed in Moldova and Tajikistan, who lost 8 positions each, and Belarus with 9 positions fall.

DR comments: the Global Innovation Index considers seven dimensions: Human capital and research; Infrastructure; Level of market development; Level of business development; Results in knowledge and technology; Results of creative activity.

6. Russia To Improve Website Blocking Mechanisms and Bans User Anonymity On Instant Messengers.

Roskomnadzor is preparing a bill to minimize erroneous blockings of “good websites”. Many ISPs cannot block sites by their URLs, so they block them using IP addresses. The authorities are developing an automated system that would make it possible to analyze real-time changes in IP addresses that occur for resources included in a single register of websites containing prohibited information. The register stores the Internet page URL, domain name and location of the resource on the Internet (IP-address).

Meanwhile, Russia changes the regulation of instant messengers. Amendments to the Law “On Information, Information Technologies, and Information Protection” have passed the first reading in the State Duma, including banning anonymity in IMs. According to the document, the contracts between IMs and telecom operators will include the requirement to provide subscriber identification numbers for IM users.

DR comments: Opponents of these amendments state that it is technologically impossible to implement controls over IMs or to block users.

7. Bishkek Authorities Will Pilot a “Smart City” Project.

Pilot testing of the Smart City project in the Kyrgyz capital is planned as part of Taza Koom implementation. The pilot, covering two main streets of Bishkek, will focus on increasing road safety and improving road infrastructure. For example, streets will be equipped with hardware systems to detect violations of traffic rules, as well as air pollution sensors and many other devices.

DR comments: Earlier we informed that testing of a “Safe City” program was launched in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Contact DR Analytica to know more about Smart City programs in Eurasia.