Bank of Russia to launch digital ruble pilot in April
The Bank of Russia is to launch a digital ruble pilot on April 1, conducting genuine transactions and working with 13 banks.
Olga Skorobogatova, first deputy chair of the central bank, announced the news at the Cybersecurity in Finance forum in Russia.
Skorobogatova says the digital ruble project will launch with “real transactions, real customers”, but with a limited number of transactions and clients.
The 13 banks “have already technically confirmed their readiness,” Skorobogatova adds, with “trade and service enterprises” set to also take part in the pilot.
Initially, members of the public will not be able to participate, Skorobogatova says, and the central bank will determine how it intends to scale the digital ruble post-pilot.
According to CoinDesk, in October 2020, Russia’s central bank published a consultation paper outlining potential designs of the digital ruble, as it looked to wind down dependence on the US dollar and mitigate sanctions.
Russia is the latest nation to begin seriously testing the validity and use of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The Bank of Japan is to launch a CBDC pilot, also in April, and the Bank of England released a consultation paper setting out the case for a retail CBDC earlier this month. In November, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) launched the pilot of the wholesale segment (e₹-W) of its digital rupee.