In 2022, the Bank of Russia will start testing for CBDC and plans to have it available for use by 2024, during the presidential elections. The central bank is still working on adopting the digital ruble but expects it to be completed a few years from now.
The Bank of Russia stated in its latest monetary policy update that it will initiate all banks and credit institutions to the digital ruble platform by 2024. This is a significant year for Russia as its incumbent President Vladimir Putin can run for reelection during the presidential elections taking place in March 2024.
By the time that date arrives, the monetary institution expects to have finished “real money” customer-to-customer transaction trials and tests of consumer-to-business and business-to-customer payments.
The Bank of Russia has announced its plans to beta-test digital ruble-based smart contracts for trades by a limited number of participants in 2023. The bank stated that it expects to roll out the CBDC gradually, adding new trials and features each year. Once the Federal Treasury is prepared, the digital ruble will also be available for consumer-to-government, business-to-government, government-to-consumer, and government-to-consumer payments.
The introduction of the offline mode for the digital ruble by 2025 will be accompanied by the integration of non-bank financial intermediaries, financial platforms, and exchange infrastructures.
The Bank of Russia noted that the phased process of introducing the digital ruble will provide market participants with the opportunity to adapt to new conditions. In addition to working with other central banks to help them develop their own digital currencies, the Bank of Russia will also use digital currencies for its own foreign exchange and cross-border operations.
As was reported earlier, Russia first trialed its digital ruble in February of 2022, following the release of its official CBDC roadmap last year. The Bank of Russia had previously formed a group consisting of twelve banks to test the digital ruble; included among them were major banking institutions such as Sber, VTB, Tinkoff Bank, and others.
Despite working on a CBDC, Russia has been behind in regulating the crypto industry. President Putin asked for the adoption of crypto regulation multiple times until finally, Russia adopted its crypto law “On Digital Financial Assets.” Even so, this law is missing many regulatory aspects like cryptocurrency mining and taxation.