In December, the Central Bank of Russia completed the prototype of its digital ruble platform and now is experimenting with transactions. A dozen banks have been invited to join the first stage of the project’s pilot phase. In the future, other types of transactions and financial service providers will be added to the list of potential participants.
Tass received information from several institutions that indicated the majority Russian banks are preparing for the testing of the CBDC (central bank digital currency) right now. Maxim Khrustalev advised the bank’s deputy chair, Promsvyazbank. One of these banks, the PSB, is processing C2C transactions, he told Tass.
After the customer-to-customer transactions, “the technical testing of C2B, B2C and B2B payments will begin. Based on the results of the piloting, Bank of Russia will start to introduce the digital ruble platform into commercial operation,” Khrustalev added.
Tinkoff Bank has also joined the effort to test the digital version of Russian fiat. “Tinkoff is preparing to pilot the digital ruble in the near future,” according to a statement from the online neobank. Tinkoff bought a controlling interest in Aximetria (a Swiss fintech startup) and recently made his way into the crypto market.
VTB, a major Russian bank said that its infrastructure was ready for piloting the digital ruble. “Piloting includes integration with the digital ruble platform and the introduction of services such as opening a wallet through a mobile application and digital ruble transfers between individuals,” the bank’s press office detailed.
Vitaly Kopysov is chief innovation officer of SKB-Bank and believes that the digital currency will be an important driver in developing new national payment services. This applies to both individuals as well companies. Tass was able to elaborate:
In the Russian Federation, the digital ruble is expected to give additional support for offline cashless payment services.
Russia’s central bank has maintained a hardline stance on cryptocurrencies and recently proposed a wide-ranging ban on crypto-related activities. Three years ago, it began to consider a digital ruble and in 2020 published a consultation paper. It released in April 2021 a digital Ruble Concept that detailed its primary architecture.
The pilot will also include other banks such as Ak Bars and Alfa-Bank. The Federal Treasury, along with financial intermediaries, will join at the second stage when transactions between private individuals and corporate entities will be carried out, including consumer-to-business (С2B), business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-government (B2G) transactions.