Russia Postpones CBDC Launch: Banks Willing to Start Experiment

  • The decision is to launch the digital ruble after adopting regulatory frameworks.
  • Banks show their willingness to start the testing of the ruble with real clients.

The recent revelations claimed that Russia has decided to proceed with the launch of the pilot project with the digital ruble only after the adoption of the regulatory frameworks, probably in early May.

Notably, on 28 March 2023, the Russian news agency company TASS reported that the country’s CBDC wouldn’t be launched in April 2023 as announced earlier but would be delayed to the end of the month or the beginning of May. It was added that though the launch is procrastinated, the Russian banks are willing to proceed with the experiments with the digital ruble transactions and activities.

Interestingly, the report stated that the postponement was directed by Anatoly Aksakov, the Head of the State Duma Committee on the Financial Market, who asserted that the legislative framework for the implementation of the ruble was not yet ready. It was added that earlier, when the launch of the CBDC was proclaimed, the bill was passed only by the first reading in the Russian Parliament Duma.

Significantly, one of the largest private banks in Russia, Alfa Bank, declared that the bank is ready to proceed with the first transaction, compliant with the authority’s plans. Another leading bank, Soyuz Bank, also shared its readiness to start testing the CBDC with real clients.

Vitaly Kopysov, the director of innovations at Sinara Bank, commented that the smart contracts should help “make the deals transparent,” adding:

The use of smart contracts should reduce the operational load of banks and make the deals transparent, which not only will reduce the chances of the misuse of government and banks’ funds, but ultimately simplify the control over the existing contracts.

Furthermore, the report indicated that the Central Bank of Russia has announced that the number of banks participating in the pilot has changed from 15 to 13. This means only 13 banks have assured their enthusiasm in participating in the event and would proceed with a limited number of clients.

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