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Russia begins digital ruble pilot

Russia begins digital ruble pilot

The Bank of Russia has enlisted 13 banks for pilot testing of a digital ruble involving real-world transactions.

The pilot will begin on 15 August and involve select clients of the participating banks.

It will test the opening of digital ruble accounts and money transfers to them, person-to-person transfers, bill payments, and QR code-based payments.

The participants in the pilot testing will be able to make payments in digital rubles at 30 points of sale located in 11 Russian cities.

More participants will be added throughout the year, with dynamic QR code-based payments and business-to-business digital ruble transfers being tested in 2024.

Olga Skorobogatova, first deputy governor, Bank of Russia, says: "Based on the results of the stage-by-stage testing and provided that the pilot testing of all the scenarios of digital ruble transactions is completed successfully, we will start issuing the digital ruble for broad use.

"We assume that, beginning from 2025, both individuals and businesses will be able to actively use the national digital currency, of course if they wish to."#

Reports on the ground suggest an apprehensive attitude among the country's citizens to the introduction of the new payment token. According to a report from Kommersant, the Association of Russian Banks (ARB) sent a letter to the Bank of Russia asking for clarification on Moscow’s CBDC plans and warned that thus far, citizens have been “wary” of the digital ruble.

“[Russian] people have an extremely wary attitude to the introduction of the digital ruble. [This attitude is shared by] the consumers of financial services,” the ARB said. The letter also called for the Bank of Russia to “propose the introduction of a direct ban on forcing citizens to open a digital ruble wallet.”

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