Russia’s central bank, the Bank of Russia, has announced that it has already conducted initial trials of its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), often referred to as the “Digital Ruble”. As per the announcement, two of the banks from Bank of Russia’s pilot group have already connected to the digital currency platform and finished a complete cycle of “Digital Ruble” transfers between customers via mobile banking apps. The announcement also arrives at a time when the Russian central bank failed to shake hands with the country’s finance ministry on a comprehensive solution regarding cryptocurrency regulations.
“The Digital Ruble platform is a new opportunity for citizens, businesses, and the state. We plan that, for citizens, transfers in Digital Rubles will be free and available in any region of the country, and for businesses, this will reduce costs and create opportunities for the development of innovative products and services,” said Deputy Chairman of the Bank of Russia Olga Skorobogatova in a publicly available announcement.
It is assumed that the issuing of ‘Digital Rubles’, the opening of digital wallets and transfers will be the first stage of the implementation process. The next stage will imply testing the possibility of goods and services payments, as well as interaction with the Federal Treasury.
There are also plans to introduce the option of paying offline, as well as transacting with non-resident users, the central bank indicated in its announcement.
As per a separate report by Finextra, VTB bank and PSB are the two banks out of 12 financial institutions that are taking part in the Bank of Russia’s CBDC pilot programme that has successfully tested operations. Other notable financial institutions part of the pilot programme include Sberbank, Alfa-Bank, Gazprombank, Tinkoff Bank, Promsvyazbank, Rosbank, Ak Bars Bank, Dom.RF Bank, SKB-Bank, Soyuz and TKB Bank.
As things currently stand, the central bank of Russia and its finance ministry share different viewpoints on the digital asset space. Last month, the former proposed a complete ban on all cryptocurrency endeavours claiming that such assets evoked memories of a pyramid scheme and threatened the local monetary system. On the other hand, the Russian Ministry of Finance suggested that imposing a regulatory framework could be more beneficial.