Russia’s monetary authority intends to conduct its first settlement in the digital ruble next year, its governor announced this week. Talking to Russian lawmakers, the official stressed the important role the new currency will play for Russia under sanctions.
Russia to trial digital ruble in settlements and international payments
According to the financial market development strategy approved by the Ministry of Finance, the digital ruble of Russia’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) should be fully launched by 2030. However, the head of the Central Bank of Russia (CBR), Elvira Nabiullina, announced in the State Duma that tests are planned to begin in settlements as early as 2023. Tas quotes her, and she elaborates:
We quickly created a prototype of the digital ruble and now we are already testing it with banks. Next year, we will set up a pilot project in the real economy.
CBR began trialling the digital ruble in January and announced the first successful transaction between individual wallets in mid-February. Five financial institutions are currently participating, and over the next few months, another seven banks will join the experiment, which is expected to last until 2022.
Nabiullina insists that the digital ruble will create new opportunities for Russia, its citizens and businesses. The government will use it to make targeted payments to support certain economic sectors and areas of society. Transfers between individuals will be free, while payments for goods and services may be subject to a small commission of 0.4 – 0.7%.
Addressing members of the House of Commons, the governor stressed that digital currencies will play a special role at a time when Russia is under unprecedented Western sanctions. The CBDC is expected to facilitate not only settlements within the Russian Federation, but also cross-border payments with its partners.
The head of the Bank of Russia said she hoped that Russian representatives would pass the necessary legal amendments to lay the groundwork for the commercial implementation of the digital ruble. Earlier this week, First Deputy Governor Olga Skorobogatova stressed the importance of moving forward with the digital ruble project and assured the banks that the trial would not be delayed.
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