Russia’s Central Bank to Begin Testing Real Transactions with Digital Ruble

    Russia’s Central Bank, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (CBR), is set to move on to the next phase of its digital ruble pilot project by conducting actual transactions using the national fiat. According to Deputy Governor Olga Skorobogatova, the testing will start on April 1 and will involve transfers between individuals and payments between trade and service companies.

    The transactions will involve real customers and 13 banks that have already passed all technical and operational tests. However, the initial number of transactions and the number of participating clients will be limited, and ordinary customers won’t be able to participate in the testing at the first stage.

    The digital ruble project was announced in October 2020, and a prototype of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) platform was finalized in December 2021. The pilot phase was launched in January 2022, and a bill on the digital ruble was filed with the lower house of the Russian parliament in January 2022. The CBR is aiming for a full launch of the national digital currency in 2024.

    The plan is to test how to scale the use of the CBDC after completing the tests, said Skorobogatova. Upon the successful completion of the tests, the regulator will be able to determine how to expand the use of the digital ruble, which could include making payments for public services, implementing smart contracts, and introducing offline transactions.

    Russia has been under pressure from Western sanctions, prompting the country to finalize its CBDC efforts. The digital ruble wallet opening has already been tested, and the CBR plans to use the state-issued coin to make payments for public services in the future.

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