Russian banks are preparing to enter the pilot phase of the digital ruble project, and some are already testing transactions with the currency. Trials have started with customer-to-customer (C2C) payments, and the Russian bank plans to expand the types of operations in the future.
12 participating banks launch digital ruble pilot
Central Bank of Russia (community rehabilitation) completed the prototype digital ruble Platform in December, now starting trial trading. More than a dozen banks have been invited to join the first phase of the pilot phase of the project. The monetary authority plans to gradually expand the range of participants to include other financial service providers and transaction types.
Currently, most Russian banks are preparing to start testing new central bank digital currencies (CBDC), TASS reported after contacting the agency. One of them, Promsvyazbank (PSB), is currently processing C2C payments, Maxim Khrustalev, an adviser to the bank’s deputy chairman, told the news agency.
Following customer-to-customer transactions, “technical testing of C2B, B2C and B2B payments will begin. According to the results of the pilot, the Russian bank will begin to introduce the digital ruble platform into commercial operations,” Khrustarev added.
Tinkoff Bank has also joined the effort to experiment with a new digital form of Russian fiat currency. According to a statement from the online neobank, “Tinkoff is preparing to pilot a digital ruble in the near future”. Tinkoff recently passed Obtain Controlling stake in Aximetria, a Swiss-registered fintech startup.
Another major Russian bank, VTB, said its infrastructure is ready to pilot the digital ruble. “The pilot includes the integration with the digital ruble platform and the introduction of services such as opening wallets and digital ruble transfers between individuals through a mobile app,” the bank’s press office detailed.
According to SKB-Bank Chief Innovation Officer Vitaly Kopysov, the digital ruble will be the driving force behind the development of new national payment services for citizens and companies. When speaking with Tas, he elaborated:
The digital ruble will further drive the creation of offline cashless payment services for businesses without internet access at the point of sale, which is very important given the geographical location of the Russian Federation.
Central Bank of Russia maintains tough stance About cryptocurrencies and recent suggested Encryption-related activities are broadly prohibited. It started considering issuing a digital ruble three years ago and decided to explore options for a CBDC in 2020, when it published a consultation paper on the matter. In April 2021, the bank released a digital ruble concept outlining its main architecture.
Other banks participating in the first phase of the pilot include Ak Bars, Alfa-Bank, Dom.rf Bank, Gazprombank, Rosbank, Sberbank, Bank Soyuz and Transcapitalbank. The federal treasury and financial intermediaries will join in the second phase, when transactions between private and corporate entities will take place, including consumer-to-business (С2B), business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-business-government (B2G) trade.
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