Bank of Russia to proceed with digital ruble pilot

The Bank of Russia has announced its collaboration with 13 banks for the initiation of a digital ruble pilot test involving real-world transactions.

This trial period is scheduled to commence on August 15, with chosen clients from the participating banks engaging in the testing process.

During the trial, users will evaluate various aspects of the digital ruble system, including the setup of digital ruble accounts, monetary transfers to these accounts, person-to-person transfers, bill settlements, and payments using QR codes.

Olga Skorobogatova, the First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Russia, has expressed that if the step-by-step testing yields positive outcomes and the pilot tests for all digital ruble transaction scenarios are completed successfully, the Bank will move forward with launching the digital ruble for widespread utilisation. She further anticipates that from 2025 onwards, both individuals and businesses can actively embrace the national digital currency, provided they are interested.

As the initiative progresses, more participants are expected to join the trial over the course of the year. The testing scope will expand to encompass QR code-based payments and business-to-business digital ruble transfers by the time 2024 arrives.

However, despite the rollout of the pilot program, there has been limited enthusiasm from the Russian public regarding this concept. Concerns are prevalent within the general population about the potential success of this test.

Reportedly, the Association of Russian Banks (ARB) conveyed its reservations to the Bank of Russia through a letter. The letter requested clarification on Moscow’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) plans and cautioned that citizens harbour reservations about the digital ruble.

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