The first consumer pilot for the nation’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) will be rolled out by the Bank of Russia on April 1, 2023, as part of preparations for this day.
According to the first deputy governor Olga Skorobogatova, the Russian Central Bank is getting ready to launch the first real-world digital ruble transactions very soon. These transactions will include 13 local banks and many retailers.
According to a report by the regional news agency TASS, the official said that the future CBDC pilot would include genuine activities and real consumers in Russia, but that it will be restricted to a set amount of transactions and clients.
At the Ural Forum on Cybersecurity in Finance, Skorobogatova said that “We expect to begin the digital ruble project on April 1 with transactions including individual transfers as well as payments in trade and service organizations.” She went on to say that the financial institutions who were taking part in the pilot program had technically shown that they were prepared to begin testing the digital ruble.
The deputy governor provided clarification that regular consumers would not be allowed to participate in the pilot in the first stage, since banks would begin the pilot with clients who have been picked in advance. According to what Skorobogatova said, when the first stage of the pilot program is completed, the Bank of Russia intends to evaluate how to further grow the digital ruble.
The most recent declaration made by Skorobogatova is in line with the implementation strategy for the digital ruble that was publicly presented by the central bank in June of 2022. Because of Western economic sanctions against Russia, the consumer CBDC pilot was pushed up to a date that was originally planned for 2024 but was brought up to a date that was earlier because the Russian central bank was seeking for an alternative to the SWIFT payments system.
This information comes at a time when some Russian authorities are stating that the Bank of Russia is examining the possibility of a gold-backed coin that would target international commerce. Vladimir Chistyukhin, the first deputy governor of the Bank of Russia, is of the opinion that the creation of a “golden token” would assist Russia in the development of a new investment product that is appealing to investors and a payment mechanism that is required for international settlement.