Russian Central Bank Chief Outlines Next Steps for Digital Ruble

Russian Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina says the country will use “several stages” to roll out its digital ruble.

Per Pravda, Nabiullina, a long-term ally of President Vladimir Putin, wants the country’s “largest banks” to join the pilot first. She said that “insurers and financial brokers” would be next in line.

Russian Central Bank – Nationwide Rollout Still Slated for 2025

Nabiullina told a gathering of Central Bank employees that the “implementation of the digital ruble in Russia” would “be divided into several stages.”

She said that the pilot was currently focusing on “the processes of opening and topping up digital wallets.”

The Governor also said that bankers are piloting CBDC “transfers between individuals,” as well as B2C payments. She said:

“The pilot is going according to plan. Twelve banks, about 600 citizens, and 30 trade and service enterprises from 11 cities are currently participating.”

This would appear to indicate that little has changed in almost a year since the bank first began piloting its coin in Moscow, Yekaterinburg, and other cities.

Nabiullina said that the “number of [CBDC] users” would “systematically grow,” as “more and more banks begin to join the project.”

A group of 17 banks – including the behemoth Sberbank – will officially join the CBDC’s second pilot stage.

However, the Russian Central Bank is yet to announce a start date for this much-anticipated new phase.

Nabiullina speaking in 2023. (Source: Bank of Russia/YouTube)

Russian CBDC Plans in Progress?

The Governor assured employees that the bank “plans to expand the functionality of the digital ruble platform.”

She concluded that the volume of transactions on the bank’s CBDC platform had now reached 68 billion rubles ($744 million).

Government ministries and the country’s parliament appear keen for the Central Bank to hasten the rollout.

Ministers and lawmakers want to use the CBDC as a payments and settlements tool to help Russian firms evade US, EU, and UK-led sanctions.

Use profits from frozen Russian assets to arm Ukraine, says Ursula von der Leyen https://t.co/mQM552oKr8

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Finance ministry chiefs late last year said that “all” Russian citizens would have the chance to experiment with digital ruble transactions in 2024.

In late February, the State Duma approved a law that allows Russian firms and their trading partners to use “digital financial assets” – including the digital ruble – in cross-border trade.

However, the bank has asserted that it will not rush into a rollout. It said the digital ruble will not be ready for nationwide use until 2025.

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