Russia’s central bank, the Bank of Russia says it will test a digital Ruble in 2022, marking another major governments interest into the voracity of testing CBDC.
First Deputy Governor Olga Skorobogatova, speaking at a press conference, said that a digital Ruble prototype will be created in December. The asset, based on Distributed Ledger Technology, will likely use open-source code that will have centralised control under the bank.
“We’ve been looking at many projects, and many would like to say they have a ready-to-use product, but [they don’t] work for the digital Ruble,” Skorobogatova said.
Russia has been looking into a CBDC for some time, and the latest report is a result of feedback and internal deliberation. It will also include commercial banks and institutions in the pilot program.
It functions in a tiered system such that the central bank will open wallets for commercial banks to store digital Rubles. These banks will then open wallets for clients. Smart contracts will also be a focus, as the bank wants conditional transactions to be an option.
The report also notes that the digital Rubles will always be in possession of by the end-users. In the event of a bank’s bankruptcy, wallets will still be available through other institutions.
Russia joins others in testing CBDC
Russia has now officially declared its intention to launch a digital Ruble. While no firm date has been set for when the CBDC will launch beyond pilot programs, the intention is clear. It doesn’t want to get left behind in the FinTech race that already includes several major developed nations.
China leads the pack and has already conducted several successful CBDC pilots. In general, China is keen to leverage DLTs to digitise its economy, with authorities designing a blockchain strategy for the decade.
Other major powers testing CBDCs are France, Japan, Australia, and Sweden — though, in actual fact, the list is much higher. The sudden interest in CBDCs has in some ways been spurred by Bitcoin’s rise in price and research into the benefits of digitised currencies.
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