The Digital Ruble: Latest Updates

Posted by Written by Paul Goncharoff

By Paul Goncharoff

Just over a month ago on August 15, 2023, pilot testing using Real Digital Rubles got underway by thirteen banks and a selected number of these banks’ clients. This has allowed the Digital Ruble project and platform to operate in actual commercial transactions and to work through streamlining processes and procedures employing real clients to ensure the processes are simple, convenient, easy to operate, and understandable.

The creation of the Digital Ruble has been quite openly developed in Russia, and is certainly not a mystery. While the Russian pilot programs are continuing, there are also parallel programs to interact smoothly with the developing sovereign digital currencies with the recently expanded BRICS countries although less has been discussed about the integration processes. Nonetheless it would be safe to say that they are all more or less working along similarly coordinated timelines.

Currently, a group of about 600 individuals are participating in testing as users. In three months, the group will be significantly increased, allowing a broader spectrum of both commercial entities and individuals to use the platform and contribute to its development and reliability testing.

Next year, the list of pilot operations will be supplemented with payments via dynamic QR codes and transfers between commercial entities. Several stages of the pilot project are now ongoing through the end of 2023 and throughout 2024.

The pilot group is conducting operations with the issue of Digital Rubles, opening Digital Ruble accounts, transfers between individuals, tests regarding the establishment of settings and execution of self-executing auto-transactions, testing payment for goods and services by an individual crediting a commercial entity using a QR code, conducting the buying and exchanging of Digital Rubles from non-cash to cash, checking the operation of transaction histories, and checking the accuracy of resulting balances.

The goal today is to make sure that all the developed operational solutions for digital accounts of individuals and commercial entities on the Digital Ruble platform of the Bank of Russia (and its selected banks) function securely and well.

In addition, determining what Digital Ruble products could be offered to customers in the very near operational future based on the experience gained during this testing period. As payment using Digital Rubles does not have to be transferred via the SWIFT banking system, international payment options in using the Digital Ruble are likely to be sought after both for businesses dealing with international clients and families with relatives based overseas.

Based on the results of this careful step-by-step testing and provided that the piloting of all scenarios of operations with the Digital Ruble is successfully and reliably achieved, the Bank of Russia plans to introduce the Digital Ruble into mass circulation by early 2025.

According to the First Deputy Chairman of the Bank of Russia, Olga Skorobogatova, the regulator expects that citizens and businesses will be able to actively use the national digital currency at that time.

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