Bank of Russia to Start Testing Digital Ruble With Real Users on April 1

Bank of Russia to Start Testing Digital Ruble With Real Users on April 1 – On April 1st, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (CBR) will move on to the next phase of the digital ruble pilot project. Deputy Governor Olga Skorobogatova told journalists that the testing will involve real transactions with the new form of national fiat.

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According to the top official, the plan is to begin with transfers between individuals and payments between trade and service companies. Skorobogatova stressed that these will be “real transactions” and “real customers” from the 13 banks that have agreed to participate.

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She did, however, mention that the initial number of these transactions, as well as the number of clients who will participate, will be limited. The banker stated on the sidelines of the Cybersecurity in Finance forum in Yekaterinburg that ordinary customers will not be able to participate in the first stage of testing.

Skorobogatova, according to the Tass news agency, elaborated that once the tests are completed, the regulator will be able to determine how to scale the use of its central bank digital currency (CBDC). She also stated that the participating banks had passed all technical and operational tests and would be ready to begin the trials on April 1.

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The digital ruble project was announced in October 2020, and the CBDC platform prototype was finalized in December 2021. The pilot phase was launched in January 2022.  A bill on the digital ruble was introduced in the Russian parliament’s lower house in January, and the CBR plans to launch the national digital currency fully in 2024.

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Russia has increased its efforts to finalize its CBDC in response to Western sanctions. Digital ruble wallets have already been tested, and future plans include using the state-issued coin to pay for public services, implementing smart contracts, and introducing offline transactions.

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