Step up CBDC development! Russia’s central bank to trial CBDC in 13 banks starting April 1

The Russian central bank plans to launch a test operation of digital ruble transactions between “real customers” in early April. A senior official of the bank confirmed the news to the Russian media and said that the Russian Monetary Authority will try the digital ruble for actual settlement, and more than a dozen banks will join this test phase.

According to news, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (CBR) will enter the next phase of the digital ruble pilot project on April 1. Deputy Governor Olga Skorobogatova told the media that the test will involve real transactions of digital national legal tender.

The senior official explained that the test will start from transfers between individuals to payments with service companies. Skorobogatova emphasized that the transactions, which will take place at the 13 banks participating in the test, are “real transactions” and “real customers.”

But she also pointed out that the initial number of these transactions and the number of participating customers will be limited, and ordinary customers will not be able to participate in the first phase of the test.

Russian media quoted Skorobogatova as saying that after completing this phase of testing, Russian regulators will be able to determine how to expand the use of its central bank digital currency (CBDC). She also said that the participating banks have passed all technical and operational tests and are expected to enter trial operation on April 1.

Russia first announced its plans for a digital ruble in October 2020, said in December 2021 that a prototype of the CBDC platform had been completed, with a subsequent pilot phase starting from January 2022. In January of this year, the Russian parliament submitted a bill on the digital ruble, and the Central Bank of Russia aims to fully launch the national digital currency in 2024.

The Central Bank of Russia released a document in August last year, which listed the direction of Russia’s monetary policy development for the next three years. According to the document, one of the central bank’s top priorities is to introduce a digital ruble in 2024.

For Russia, this is undoubtedly a critical year. The country will hold presidential elections in March 2024, and the current President Vladimir Putin has already signed a bill allowing himself to be re-elected for two terms after leaving office. In power until 2036 to pave the way.

In September last year, Anatoly Aksakov, chairman of the Financial Committee of the Lower House of the Russian Parliament, said in an interview that Russia is indeed looking for alternative ways to conduct transactions. Sanctions are imposed and it creates problems for bank transfers, including international settlements.”

Anatoly Aksakov added that the digitization of currency is key, so that money flows can bypass systems controlled by “unfriendly countries”. The Central Bank of Russia and the government have long been at loggerheads over the regulation of cryptocurrencies, and he hopes that relevant legislation will be introduced soon.

China started research and development on the “digital renminbi” as early as 2014 and is currently actively testing it. Anatoly Aksakov mentioned that the next step of the “digital ruble” will be to launch mutual settlement with China. He said, “If we launch this feature, then other countries will start to actively use it, which will effectively end the United States’ influence on the global financial system.” control.”

Cooperation with Beijing has become increasingly important to Moscow as the West seeks to isolate Russia, and trade between the two countries is so large and growing that even Russian companies are starting to issue bonds in yuan. Under the pressure of Western sanctions, Russia has clearly stepped up its efforts to finalize its CBDC. The use of digital ruble wallets has been tested. Future plans in Russia have reportedly included the use of a state-issued CBDC to pay for public services, the implementation of smart contracts and the introduction of wires. Next deal.