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Bank of Russia Accelerates Schedule for Digital Ruble Project

The Central Bank of Russia continues to step up efforts to test and issue the digital ruble, with a roadmap for the full implementation of the new form of the national fiat now expected by the end of 2023. Trials with real transactions and users are scheduled to begin next April, earlier than originally planned.

The Central Bank of the Russian Federation (CBR) will develop a roadmap for the introduction of the digital ruble by the end of 2023, First Deputy Chairman Olga Skorobogatova said in an interview with the Tass news agency, revealing an earlier deadline than previously set.

Testing of real operations will give us the opportunity to understand what needs to be tweaked and brought to mind, what to refine, what to change. We want to develop a roadmap for the introduction of the digital ruble at the end of next year.

The deputy governor pointed out that 12 banks are currently taking part in the pilot. Another three banks want to join the trials and the monetary authority has received applications from several non-financial organizations as well.

Olga Skorobogatova remarked it’s too early to talk about results from the current stage as the participants are moving at different speeds. “But more than half of the banks in the pilot group are progressing at a very good pace, we meet the stated deadlines,” she said.

The importance of the CBDC project has increased amid mounting Western sanctions over Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine. The executive added that the central bank will have to work out cross-border interactions between the digital ruble and other countries’ digital currencies in order to make the Russian financial system more independent.

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