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Russia invests in homegrown tech with Visa and Mastercard out of the picture

Sharif Sakr
05.21.14
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America's sanctions against Russia have already had an impact on high-level space and satellite projects, but it's clear this is just the beginning of the growing technological separation between East and West. Ordinary Russians are starting to be affected too, especially now that Mastercard and Visa are forbidden from processing many of their credit card transactions. According to Bloomberg, the Kremlin sees the disappearance of US-based financial services as a "betrayal." It's looking to wean the country off foreign banking services, starting with a law that would allow all state employees (more than 20 million people) to be paid via a totally new, homegrown card platform.

As a result, the country's central bank predicts a surge in demand for Russian-made microchip cards. And, if more citizens start to look internally for alternatives to American products and services -- such as Yandex instead of Google -- then many other Russian companies will stand to benefit from sanctions. Consumers may potentially benefit too, from cheaper prices or better control over their data, especially now that Facebook is required to store all information about its Russian users within domestic datacenters. In the long-term, however, they'll also run the risk of being left on a technological island, or perhaps in an isolated bloc with China.

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