Russia’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) could be released before 2023 is out, the government has claimed.
Lenta.ru reported that 19 Russian banks are currently working with the Central Bank on its latest phase of digital ruble testing.
Moscow wants to fast-track the rollout of its CBDC in a bid to de-dollarize international trade.
The Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said that the digital ruble would be “put into circulation before the end of 2023.”
He did not explain if the rollout would be nationwide or take place in multiple stages, as has been the case in China.
The minister said:
“The Central Bank has already launched a pilot this year. And by the end of the year, after the adoption of relevant legislation, [the bank] will release the digital ruble into circulation.”
Russia’s CBDC – What Does Moscow Hope to Achieve?
The minister said that the digital ruble would become a “transparent and reliable” tool, since it allows users “to track all transactions and monitor spending.”
Crucially, he added, the digital fiat would “be used in cross-border settlements.”
Such a move would “exclude the interference of unfriendly parties in transactions with partners,” the minister claimed.
Russia has suffered disruption to its trade networks as a result of US and EU-led sanctions.
But Siluanov said:
“The [CBDC] is a payment system that is devoid of any restrictions. Two states can use it to negotiate and make their own calculations. And no other country can stick its nose in or freeze these calculations.”
Russian politicians have spoken about de-dollarizing trade for several years.
And they have claimed that state-backed stablecoins and digital fiats may help them to do so.
MPs have recently stated that they hope to roll out two crypto-related bills in June.
They are hopeful of legalizing industrial crypto mining and allowing the limited use of crypto as a payments tool in international trade deals.
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