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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Bank of Russia Accelerates Schedule for Digital Ruble Project

Bank of Russia Accelerates Schedule for Digital Ruble Project – First Deputy Chairman Olga Skorobogatova stated in an interview with the Tass news agency that the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (CBR) will create a roadmap for the implementation of the digital ruble by the end of 2023, which is an earlier timeframe than originally planned.

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The high-ranking source also mentioned that the regulator expects to begin testing operations with the digital currency (CBDC) of the Russian central bank (RCB) with actual clients as early as April 2023, indicating that these plans have also been modified. 

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The following year, Skorobogatova emphasized, will be crucial for the project and went on to explain:

“We will have the chance to learn what has to be remembered, what needs to be improved, and what needs to change by testing real operations. For the launch of the digital ruble at the end of next year we want to create a roadmap.”

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Twelve banks are currently participating in the experiment, the deputy governor noted. The monetary authority has received applications from various non-financial organizations, and three additional banks want to participate in the trials.

Olga Skorobogatova observed that because the participants are going at different rates, it is too early to discuss the findings from this stage. However, she added, “more than half of the pilot group’s banks are moving forward at a very good speed, and we meet the set timelines.”

The CBDC project’s significance has grown in light of the intensifying Western sanctions related to Russia’s armed invasion of Ukraine. The CEO went on to say that in order to increase the independence of the Russian financial system, the central bank will need to figure out cross-border exchanges between the digital ruble and other countries’ digital currencies.

“In my opinion, a national digital currency will be available in three years in every self-respecting state. And in that regard, we also need to develop cross-border cooperation, Skorobogatova said. “We must unquestionably get ready as quickly as possible. Additionally, by eliminating the requirement for SWIFT through such connectivity, this also addresses the issue with SWIFT, among other things,” she added.

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In a paper released in October 2020, the Bank of Russia introduced the idea of the digital ruble. The pilot phase for the CBDC’s prototype platform began in January of this year, and it was completed in December 2021. The daily Izvestia recently reported that the CBR and Russian commercial banks intend to test a variety of payments with the digital ruble as part of the trials, including settlements for real estate deals.

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