Will Putin be able to defend his financial independence to the West ?
In November 2018, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde said that the world is entering an era when cash will go out of circulation, so national Central Banks need to develop their own digital currencies that would replace traditional money. Soon after this statement, cryptocurrencies fell in price twice and it became clear that they will not be able to take on this function.
In this regard, both for the Eurasian Economic Union and the CIS, it is an urgent need to develop its own single digital currency in order, first, not to become dependent on other economies of the world, and, secondly, to raise the intensity of integration processes to a completely different level.
However, the problem is not tomorrow or even the day after tomorrow, the prospect of its solution extends to 2025. First of all, it is necessary to create conditions for the digitalization of the main economic processes.
At the international financial and banking forum of the CIS member States held in the capital of Uzbekistan Tashkent in the last days of March, topical issues of digitalization of the Russian economy and the entire post-Soviet space were raised, as well as the nuances of its cybersecurity were discussed. One of the main moderators of this event was the management of JSC CB «Solidarity». Especially for the «JV» chief analyst of the Bank Alexander Abramov spoke about why the process of digitalization of the post-Soviet space cannot be avoided, and also outlined the main obstacles that arise in its path.In 2018, the Bank of Russia, which is a regulator of the financial sector, approved the main directions of development of fin technologies for the next 2 years, — said the expert. — At the same time, one of the priority goals was the development of competition in this area. In addition, the objectives were to develop the availability and quality of services, as well as to reduce risks and costs in the financial sector.
«SP»: — And why is it needed?
— Because the financial industry is already facing serious challenges. For example, technological risks associated with new solutions in this area. For example, cryptocurrency exchanges are very unreliable, every week there are reports of hacking of a particular trading platform. With this level of security, you know, there can be no trust in this tool. We must ensure a higher level of reliability in our financial system. As for the problems of competition, take a look — such multinational companies as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and others occupy a virtual monopoly position in the processing, transmission and storage of data, as well as preparing or have already moved to expansion in the field of financial services. Due to the huge data Bank about the preferences and tastes of customers, they, in fact, can dictate their terms to the whole world. If you let this thing take its course, our financial system will be here on the position, sorry, poor relative.
— Well, there will be a foreign monopolist in the field of marketing. If it is convenient to the user, what, in fact, the difference who holds, so to speak, the reins?
— For the financial system of the CIS countries and Russia, this situation is fraught with the loss of digital sovereignty. And this, in turn (as already «JV» reported earlier), a direct threat to national security and independence.
— And to the manufacturing sector, it has something to do?
— Certainly. Take, for HP printers, which can print virtually any item, any item. This is a real revolution, which opens up huge opportunities for production in a short time. Or, let’s say, unmanned aerial vehicles, where due to total restrictions there is a risk to lag behind other countries. Here and biology with the change of the genome, and the chemical industry with the creation of a material with predetermined properties, and physics with the ability to replace some research computer simulation.
In addition, the Russian nuclear and missile industry has vulnerabilities in terms of the component base in terms of industrial espionage. The technologies themselves are well protected, but the operating activities in the industries are based on foreign-made chips because we do not have a highly developed semiconductor industry. But the same Intel has a huge number of vulnerabilities, and just bookmarks, which for decades have been successfully hidden. There are some examples of Russian high-tech electronics, of course, but the cost is extremely high, and the range of applications of literally piece batches is very narrow.
And we must not forget that many important for the security of the country data is stored using cloud technologies on servers outside Russia. The lack of proprietary technologies in the field of cloud storage makes us vulnerable to the security services of our geopolitical competitors.
«SP»: — This is all good, of course, but can the digitalization of the economy defeat the main trouble of Russia — the withdrawal of capital abroad?
— Approximately since 2012, the withdrawal of capital is divided into two types. The so-called white outflow occurs when an entrepreneur is faced with the fact that he and raised the VAT rate, and the bar on insurance premiums, and there were other levies, or just raiders came — give the business. He is, of course, bored, he takes and sells his business and the resource displays in another place. And there is a shadow withdrawal of funds, which even 6-7 years ago was estimated at tens of billions of dollars a year. As a result of the decisive actions of the Central Bank to suppress these schemes managed to reduce it tenfold. And now our banking system records the volume of dubious cross-border transactions in the area of not more than a billion dollars a year. Here we can come to the aid of blockchain technology, which allows us to save the history of transactions in such a way that it is impossible to change it later. This will allow you to track and identify withdrawal channels, and then conduct full serious analytical activities and close questionable ways.
But a serious danger of accelerating the outflow of capital remains, and it is connected with the fact that after the presidential elections in the US, a very significant amount of foreign speculative capital inflow is recorded in Russia, which reached record levels this year, as we see on the example of regular auctions of the Ministry of Finance, which are dominated by non-residents. And at the time of the deterioration of the situation in the world economy, there is a danger that all these funds will simultaneously rush to the exit. Therefore, the Central Bank, in this case, accumulates foreign exchange reserves. And what obstacles are there now to accelerate the pace of digitalization of the economy?
— One of them is safety. For example, a person has an Internet Bank and a password from his / her personal account. If his password was stolen as a result of hacking, he can contact support, and the password will be changed. But if a person has stolen biometric data — fingerprints, retinal image — and with their help begin to withdraw money from his accounts, what can I do? The hand cut off? So far, we have not seen any effective solutions in this area. So I now suggest to all those who donate for some purposes the biometric data, to figure out what will happen in the event of a leak. Only in 2-3 years, it will be possible to assess the effectiveness and reliability of the launched system of collecting such data.
The next risk-obstacle — monopolization. Take for example the transfer of funds from card to card. Now here the monopoly is held by Sberbank, and, occupying 94% of the market of these services, dictates tariffs for these operations.
In the biometrics market, the Central Bank adopted the relevant law on remote identification and created the appropriate infrastructure. But the Central Bank faced the fact that some banks collect biometrics for themselves, without transferring it to the state system, to which all financial organizations have access. And due to the possession of monopoly information, they are trying to pull the entire market over, creating, in fact, their own digital ecosystem with a full range of insurance, consulting and other services.
In other words, summarizing all the above, the key problem is the desire of individual players to prevent the development of a competitive environment in certain segments of the financial market, using any methods. And with this trend, it is necessary to fight in the first place.