The Bank of Russia plans to test its central bank digital currency next year, after presenting a prototype platform by the end of this year.
According to a March 10 report by local news outlet Prime, Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank Alexey Zabotkin said during an online meeting organized by Russian Economics School NES that the institution’s work on its CBDC implementation is going at full speed. He said:
“By the end of the year, hopefully, we will be able to present a prototype of the digital ruble platform,” he said, adding “But it won’t allow us to process real transactions yet.”
Zabotkin also said that the central bank will start “testing rounds” of its CBDC as early as 2022. Bank of Russia head Elvira Nabiullina only announced the institution’s plans to start discussing the details of the digital currency last month, according to local news outlet Interfax.
That said, in October, she said that the forthcoming transformation of the economy is taking place, and as a result, “there must be a transformation of the settlement system.”
In February, Nabiullina added that in addition to technical development and testing, the system will require changes in Russian financial regulations to take place before it can be launched.
Anatoly Aksakov, head of the Russian Federation State Duma Committee on the Financial Market, said at the time that legislation will need to introduce a legal definition of the digital ruble as a new form of money and make amendments to numerous regulations including the civil code, as well as rules regarding crypto assets and payments systems, according to Russian news outlet Izvestia.
He also pointed out that the technical pilot tests should precede any changes to the regulation.
That regulatory approval will likely be forthcoming. In late December, the Russian State Duma Committee on Financial Markets approved a new draft of a tax law granting cryptocurrencies legal status.
At the time Aksakov said that from his point of view, “the digital ruble is one of the future forms of our ruble, and it should contribute to the development of the financial assets market.”