The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) has accelerated the development of its digital ruble in response to Western sanctions. The monetary authority now intends to pilot transactions with the new version of the national fiat in early 2023 instead of 2024, as originally planned.
Sanctions imposed over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine have convinced the Bank of Russia to speed up the development of the digital version of the ruble, the Russian-language edition of Forbes reported, quoting CBR’s First Deputy Chairman Olga Skorobogatova. She revealed this during a meeting organized by the Association of Banks of Russia.
The high-ranking official remarked that Russia’s central bank had initially scheduled the digital ruble pilot with real transactions and users for 2024 but it has been decided to launch the project in April 2023. At the same time, the regulator also wants to start implementing smart contracts based on the digital ruble infrastructure.
The users were able to open digital ruble wallets through mobile apps, exchange regular electronic money from their bank accounts for digital rubles, and then transfer the coins between themselves, the CBR detailed. At the time, Skorobogatova assured that the digital currency transactions will be free of charge for all Russians and available in every region of the country.
Forbes quotes Fitch analysts who expect the CBR to continue to advocate a prohibition of decentralized cryptocurrencies in order to make room for the development of its own digital currency. They also suggest that the emergence of a digital ruble could lead to an outflow of funds from deposits in the banking system, increased competition in the financial market, and rising interest rates.
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