S7, Russia’s biggest domestic airline, has begun selling flight tickets through ethereum’s blockchain this Monday, according to reports from a local paper.
Little further detail is provided except that the project is launched in collaboration with Alfa-Bank, Russia’s biggest commercial bank, which stated:
“The blockchain based payment system ensures receipt of proceeds from sales, minus the commission of the agent, immediately after issuing the ticket,” rather than waiting two weeks for settlement as in traditional payments.
S7 and Alfa-Bank have been collaborating since last year on exploring blockchain technology with test payments made during December 2016 when Dmitry Kudelkin, S7 Group Deputy General Director, stated:
“We traditionally use the most advanced solutions and technologies not only in the development of services for passengers, but also in business development.
This transaction allowed us to test the efficiency of smart contracts and to understand how this technology allows us to optimize business processes and increase the efficiency of document circulation. We plan to continue cooperation with Alfa-Bank in this direction.”
The airline, which manages some 70 fleets to around 80 destinations, handles numerous financial transactions in ticket selling, employee payments or supply purchases. They are trying to streamline some of it, with Nadezhda Avdanina, director at Alfa-Bank, stating:
“Blockchain technology is an ideal solution for a business that makes transactions with a large number of participants, and if there are new participants in the transaction who do not yet trust each other.
The use of blockchain technology improves the speed and transparency of the payment process. The more market participants (banks, large counterparties, individuals) make transactions through the platform, the more transparent, faster and cheaper will be financial interactions.”
The announcement comes at a time when Russia appears to signal a higher level of friendliness towards this space, with legislators there planning to legalize digital currencies as well as regulate ICOs.
It follows a brief meeting between Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s inventor, and Russia’s president Vladimir Putin who “supported the idea of establishing business contacts with possible Russian partners.”
We may, therefore, see more blockchain based projects coming out of Russia as the technology now moves from an exploratory and pilot stage to the first production ready projects.