The central bank of Russia is preparing to pilot the digital ruble, the country’s central bank digital currency (CBDC).
Starting on Aug. 15, the test will aim to evaluate the feasibility and functionality of a digital rendition of the ruble.
Thirteen banks and a limited number of their customers will participate in the pilot program to evaluate the performance of the digital ruble platform.
The bank’s first deputy governor, Olga Skorobogatova, emphasized the significance of this phase, which aims to refine customer engagement methods and create a user-friendly experience.
Still, the central bank is cautious about integrating the digital ruble into the mainstream financial system. However, by 2025, citizens and businesses could have access to the digital ruble if the pilot phases and testing are successful.
The pilot program focuses on core processes such as setting up digital ruble accounts, automating payments, enabling peer-to-peer transactions, and incorporating QR codes. The pilot will span 30 retail outlets across 11 cities, offering participants a firsthand experience with the new digital currency.
There are plans to expand the participant pool by the end of 2023. This will involve inviting a more diverse range of individuals and business entities. By 2024, there may be an expansion of transaction methods, including dynamic QR code payments and the ability for businesses to transfer funds to one another.
The digital ruble project faced delays earlier due to legislative hurdles, which caused progress to temporarily halt in the State Duma, Russia’s lower legislative body.
However, President Vladimir Putin’s approval of the digital ruble legislation on Jul. 24 has signified progress in Russia’s exploration of digital financial solutions.