The CEO of the Russian state-owned financial service provider Sberbank has stated that cryptocurrency and blockchain technology will fundamentally transform business and finance. That said, Herman Gref is looking at a time span of decades rather than months or years.Herman Gref with Refreshing Take on CryptocurrencyAccording to a report in local news, the CEO of Sberbank thinks that cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology have the power to radically transform society.Gref was speaking about the financial innovations at fintech conference, the Finopolis Forum, yesterday. The event is being held by the Bank of Russia in Sochi. It ran from Wednesday to Friday of this week.However, the changes Gref envisions are not to be expected soon. The banker went on to state that digital currencies would take at least 10 years to become widespread enough to challenge the current status quo. Gref holds that national governments will try to desperately cling on to existing financial services for as long as possible:“… it’s not likely that any state is ready to part with the centralised money supply model.”The state-owned bank executive is more optimistic about blockchain technology. He feels that the true implications of distributed ledgers will make themselves known in around three to five years:“The technology is not ready now. When will it be ready? In my opinion, three to five years. If you ask me in five years, maybe I can say something more distinct about its place, but the potential is huge.”Gref also stated that the hype-stifling bear market of 2018 has allowed for a “balanced consideration and evaluation of this technology.” The experiments that are ongoing in the space will lay the groundwork for the sweeping changes envisioned.Finally, Gref addressed regulations. To him, any outright bans on cryptocurrencies risk stifling the innovative potential of the space. The technology needs to “quietly develop” and can do so better now that much of the speculation has died down.Although perhaps not what everyone wants to hear in terms of time frame, Gref’s outlook on cryptocurrencies seems refreshingly grounded. It stands as contrast to the outbursts of other individuals connected with the traditional financial industry. Suspiciously absent were any comments relating to fraud, tulips, rat poison, or money laundering.Gref’s commentary on the space is consistent with Sberbank’s own experimentation with blockchain. The state-owned financial service provider has been working on systems that use the technology to increase the efficiency of the services it provides.Featured image from Shutterstock.