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Siberian Region Partners With Universa to Create Blockchain Tourism Destination

Universa Platform, a Russian blockchain platform intended for corporate management and state administration, has partnered with a Russian federal subject, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, to help the bucolic region join the digital economy through blockchain enabled technology, according to a company statement.

The partnership will create a pilot area for digital technologies and services which aims to make the region, located in Western Siberia, a tourism destination as well as an attractive place for foreign direct investment.

Universa’s blockchain platform will be integrated into government operations as an “investment project management service” to control budgeting and prevent misuse of funds. Tracking mechanisms will generate automatic reports when investment funds are spent, ensuring transparency, thereby making the region safer for investors.

Additionally, a multi-language communication platform will be developed to provide a single digital ecosystem to be used by the tourism industry. All industry participants — including “suppliers of tourist products and services, transportation companies delivering the tourists, accommodation and catering facilities, small and medium enterprises providing services in adjacent areas, investors, business support foundations, and finally tourists heading for their vacations in the region” — will contribute to a “pool of data” that will help identify problems as well as areas where the industry can expand.

According to regional authorities, over 500,000 tourists visited Ugra in 2018. These authorities hope the creation of “a center of competence” within the tourism industry will spur interest in the region.

This decision comes on the heels of President Vladimir Putin’s decree made in May 2018, “On National Goals and Strategic Development Objectives of the Russian Federation for the Period of up to 2024,” which aims to “take Russia into the top five largest economies, ensure economic growth rates exceeding international rates, while at the same time maintaining macroeconomic stability, including inflation under 4 percent.”

According to its white paper, Universa uses a contract execution machine and a distributed state ledger to “support token representation of everything from passports to boarding passes, bus tickets or taxi fares; they can be gift cards, vouchers, or gym membership cards.”

Neither the company, nor Okrug officials, responded to a request for comment.

The agreement was signed by Alexander Borodich, CEO of Universa, and Roman Genkel, General Director Ugra Development Foundation at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 7. 

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