The Bank of Russia has started a series of consultations dedicated to the potential launch of the digital ruble, a CBDC pegged to the Russian ruble. The central bank has not yet decided if it wants to actually launch the project, but it is gathering feedback from would-be participants and users of the new payment system.
The regulator engaged representatives of several banks and other financial institutions via a Zoom conference on Monday. The overall tone of the conversation was cheerful, with many participants saying they are looking forward to piloting the digital ruble. However, several people hinted they are concerned about certain features of the project.
Sberbank (recently re-branded as Sber) is the country’s largest retail bank and an active explorer of blockchain tech. Sber Chair German Gref announced Monday the company is looking into launching its own digital token, as well as a platform for trading digital assets.
The Bank of Russia, however, will not allow any other token to become a payment instrument in the Russian economy – just as no cryptocurrencies can be used for payments in Russia under a new law coming into force in January.
“We will prevent issuance of any new payment tools. If there is a need of a crypto asset for the functionality [of a financial platform], the crypto ruble will be that asset,” said Sergey Shvetsov, deputy chair of the Bank of Russia, during the Zoom conference.