Russian banks are preparing to dive into 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 Bank of Russia plans to expand transaction types in the future.
Launch of a digital ruble pilot project with 12 participating banks
The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) completed the prototype of the digital ruble platform in December and is now beginning to experiment with transactions. About ten banks have been invited to join the first stage of the pilot phase of the project. The monetary authority plans to gradually expand the range of participants to other financial service providers and other types of transactions.
At present, the majority of Russian banks are preparing to start testing the new central bank digital currency (CBDC), Tass reported after contacting the institutions. One of them, Promsvyazbank (PSB), currently handles C2C payments, Maxim Khrustalev, adviser to the bank’s vice president, told the news agency.
After customer-to-customer transactions, “technical testing of C2B, B2C and B2B payments will begin. Based on the results of the pilot project, the Bank of Russia will start introducing the digital ruble platform into business operations,” Khrustalev added.
Tinkoff Bank is also joining efforts to test the new digital form of Russian fiat. “Tinkoff is gearing up to pilot the digital ruble in the near future,” according to a statement from the online neobank. Tinkoff recently entered the crypto space by acquiring a majority stake in Swiss-registered fintech startup Aximetria.
Another major Russian bank, VTB, has said its infrastructure is ready to drive the digital rouble. “The piloting includes integration with the digital ruble platform and the introduction of services such as opening a wallet via a mobile application and transfers of digital rubles between individuals,” the press office detailed. form the bank.
According to Vitaly Kopysov, Chief Innovation Officer at SKB-Bank, the digital ruble will become an engine for the development of new domestic payment services for citizens and businesses. Speaking to Tass, he explained:
The digital ruble will give an additional impetus to the creation of offline cashless payment services for businesses in the absence of Internet access at a point of sale, which is very important given the geography of the Russian Federation. Russia.
Russia’s central bank has maintained a hardline stance on cryptocurrencies and recently proposed a broad ban on crypto-related activities. It started considering a digital ruble three years ago and decided to explore options for issuing the CBDC in 2020, when it released a consultation paper on the matter. In April 2021, the bank published a digital ruble concept describing its main architecture.
Other banks participating in the first stage of the pilot project are Ak Bars, Alfa-Bank, Dom.rf Bank, Gazprombank, Rosbank, Sberbank, Bank Soyuz and Transcapitalbank. The Federal Treasury, as well as financial intermediaries, will join in the second stage when transactions between individuals and legal entities are carried out, including consumer-to-business (С2B), business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-business. -government transactions (B2G).
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