Russian magazine Kommersant has reported that the airline S7 began selling tickets using an Ethereum blockchain on Monday. The country's largest private financial institution, Alfa-Bank, is supporting the move, which was made to simplify payments and decrease settlement times between airlines and agents — a process that usually takes two weeks.
The decision may have been made to get ahead of another Russian airline, Aeroflot, which recently released a request for proposals on how to incorporate cryptocurrencies into their own services.
S7's decision to utilize Ethereum represents two wider trends in the world of blockchain. First, Russia's interest in the technology. This is reflected by the central bank testing an Ethereum-based blockchain system and Vladimir Putin optimistically announcing that blockchain is "essentially the foundation for creating brand new business models” at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum.
Second, the move shows a worldwide increase in the integration of blockchain into everyday transactions. The system has been adopted by shipping companies such as Maersk and retailers like Walmart to keep track of shipments, and if S7's integration is successful, citizens outside of Russia could soon find themselves booking their own travel on the blockchain.
Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.