Bank of Russia Speeds up Digital Ruble Project

ByEdward Thompson

Jun 26, 2022

The Russian central bank is going full steam ahead when it comes to testing and issuing the digital ruble. It is planning on launching the central bank digital currency (CBDC) fully in the country by the end of next year. Reports indicate that the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) will begin trials for the digital version of its national currency in April 2023, which is earlier than originally intended. This trial will involve real users and transactions.

Digital Ruble roadmap expected in 2023

A roadmap will be developed by the Russian central bank for the launch of the digital ruble nationwide by the end of next year. Olga Skorobogatova, the First Deputy Chairman of the CBR, made the announcement, which revealed that they were moving up the schedule.

According to the high-ranking official, the regulator is also planning to begin testing the CBDC in April next year and will use real clients to do so. This indicates that they have made adjustments to these plans as well. Skorobogatova disclosed that the coming year would be a major one for the Russian central bank digital currency (CBDC).

She said that testing in real scenarios would provide the central bank the opportunity to determine what challenges may exist, if any, and make adjustments and refine the CBDC further. She said they wanted to have a full roadmap for the digital ruble ready by the end of 2023.

No results shared

The deputy governor disclosed that there were currently 12 banks in the country that were participating in the pilot program and there were an additional three that wanted to be part of the trial. In fact, she revealed that the central bank has also received applications from a number of organizations that are not related to the financial market, but wanted to participate.

When asked about the results, the governor said that it was very early to talk about them because all the participants were moving in their own space at the current stage. She said that half of the banks that were part of the pilot project were moving at a strong pace and they would have no problems meeting the set deadlines.

Importance of CBDC rising

The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) has accelerated its work on the Russian central bank digital currency (CBDC) after the sanctions imposed on the country by Western nations due to its invasion of Ukraine. According to the executive, they would be able to ensure the independence of the Russian financial system with the help of a digital ruble. They would be able to make cross-border transactions with the CBDC and digital currencies of other countries.

Skorobogatova said that they expected most countries to have their own CBDCs ready as well, which would mean that cross-border cooperation would be required. She also said that this would also help them in getting around the SWIFT system because this kind of integration would eliminate the need to use it. Talk of CBDCs had first begun in Russia back in October 2020.

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