Russia Fast-tracks CBDC: Digital Ruble to be Used in “real operations” in 2023

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by Riley Waggaman, Activist Post:

Citing the imposition of Western sanctions, the Bank of Russia announced on Wednesday that it was accelerating the rollout of its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

The first stage of testing for the digital ruble began in January and was originally supposed to finish in 2024.

Under the newly released roadmap, phase two—in which the programmable, trackable digital token will be integrated, small-scale, into “real money” operations—is now slated to start in April 2023. Vedomosti (Russia’s Wall Street Journal) has the details:

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“Seeing the pace at which we are now going, we assume that from April next year we will be able to start a pilot on real clients and real operations,” said First Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank Olga Skorobogatova at a meeting of the regulator with bankers. […]

At the end of this year, the regulator will send documents on regulating the digital ruble to the State Duma Committee on the Financial Market in order to be able to launch the second stage of piloting in April 2023, Skorobogatova said.

The creation of a prototype of the digital ruble platform was completed in December 2021. 12 banks are participating in the first pilot: Ak Bars, Alfa-bank , Dom.RF , VTB , Gazprombank , Tinkoff Bank , Promsvyazbank (PSB), Rosbank , Sberbank , SKB-bank , Soyuz and TKB.

Testing of the digital ruble platform began in January 2022, and at the first stage, the issuance of a digital ruble, the opening of digital wallets by banks and citizens, as well as C2C transfers (between individuals) and C2B transfers (from individuals to business – payment by individuals for goods and services). Already on February 15, PSB and VTB were the first to successfully transfer digital rubles between their clients.

On February 18, the head of the Central Bank, Elvira Nabiullina, reported that five credit institutions are now testing the system, and the rest will connect as they fine-tune their IT structures. […]

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