The Central Bank of Russia continues to intensify its efforts to test and issue digital rubles, with a roadmap for full implementation of the new form of state fiat currently scheduled for the end of 2023 The roadmap for full implementation of the new form of state fiat is currently scheduled for the end of 2023. Actual trading and user trials are expected to begin next April, earlier than originally planned.
Bank of Russia to Unveil Roadmap for Digital Ruble Next Year
The Central Bank of the Russian Federation (CBR) will create a roadmap for the introduction of the digital ruble by the end of 2023, First Deputy Chairman Olga Skorobogatova told TASS In an interview with TASS News Agency, First Deputy Chair Olga Skorobogatova stated that this is an earlier deadline than previously set.
The official also noted that the regulator intends to start test operations with the Russian central bank’s digital currency (CBDC) with real customers as early as April 2023, indicating that these plans have also been adjusted. Skolobogatova elaborated, stressing that the coming year is very important for the project.
Testing in production will give us the opportunity to understand what to adjust, what to envision, what to improve and what to change. We would like to create a roadmap for the introduction of digital rubles at the end of next year.
The Vice President noted that 12 banks are currently participating in the pilot. Three more banks have expressed interest in participating in the pilot, and the monetary authority has received applications from several non-financial institutions as well.
Olga Skorobogatova noted that it is premature to talk about the results at this stage because of the different speeds of the participants. She stated, “However, more than half of the banks participating in the pilot group are progressing at a very good pace and meeting the stipulated deadlines.”
The importance of the CBDC project is growing as Western sanctions over Russia’s military incursion into Ukraine intensify. The executive added that the central bank will have to work on cross-border interaction between the digital ruble and other countries’ digital currencies in order to increase the independence of the Russian financial system.
“In my opinion, every self-respecting nation will have a domestic digital currency within three years. And we need to build cross-border cooperation in that direction,” Skorobogatova commented. ‘We need to be ready as soon as possible. Moreover, this will solve, among other things, the SWIFT problem, because with such integration, SWIFT will no longer be necessary,” she explained.
The Bank of Russia presented the concept of the digital ruble in a report published in October 2020; the CBDC prototype platform was finalized in December 2021 and the pilot phase started in January this year. As part of the pilot, CBR and Russian commercial banks will test various types of payments in digital rubles, including the settlement of real estate transactions, the daily newspaper Izvestia recently revealed.
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