Russia’s financial landscape is on the brink of a revolutionary transformation. On August 9th, a resounding announcement echoed from the heart of Moscow – the country’s central bank declared its imminent foray into the realm of digital currency with the initiation of digital ruble testing.
“The launch of pilot operations with real digital rubles is the most important stage of the project. This will allow us to test the operation of the digital ruble platform … and make sure that the client path is convenient and understandable for users.”
-Olga Skorobogatova, First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Russia
Digital Ruble is on the way
On August 9, the Russian central bank said that they would begin testing the digital ruble with banks, consumers, and enterprises beginning in the middle of the month.
The central bank said that beginning on August 15, customers of 13 participating banks will be able to use digital rubles at 30 sites in 11 cities.
Users will be able to set up accounts or wallets, conduct P2P transactions, set up automatic payments, and buy using QR codes during the test. The release specifies that a genuine implementation of digital money would be used in the trial.
A “limited circle” of consumers, according to the Bank of Russia’s official announcement, will have access to the asset. Reuters has also reported that 600 people are expected to participate in the initiative. Reuters quote Skorobogatova as saying the bank “expect[s] to test operations with real customers.”
By the end of 2023, the Bank of Russia has promised that the pilot program would include support for dynamic QR codes, transfers between legal entities, and improved autopayments. Separately, Reuters reported that 19 other institutions had shown interest in participating in the scheme come 2024.