Through its website, the Russian banking regulator unveiled the central bank digital currency (CBDC) logo, characterized by the universal symbol of the ruble in a circle. The central bank’s announcement provided four color schemes for entities keen on promoting the digital ruble.
“The coral-scarlet shade is the most important color in the communication of the digital ruble of the Bank of Russia,” read the announcement. “This color is used as the main background color for the logo, as well as the main background color for various information and promotional materials, souvenirs, etc.”
Alongside the brand identity, the Bank of Russia disclosed the commission fees for using the CBDC. Currently, users of the digital ruble will not be charged commission fees until the end of 2024.
Starting in 2025, business-to-business transactions involving the digital ruble will have a 15 rubles ($0.16) charge, while individuals will only have a 0.3% charge of the total value of the transaction. According to the new scheme of fees, transactions for civil services will incur only a 0.2% charge, while those for commercial entities will cost 0.3%.
Russia is gearing up for its CBDC pilot following the passage of a legal framework at the end of July. The central bank was forced to postpone the CBDC experiments in April over the failure of the legislature to roll out the legal framework, but things appear to be gathering steam.
Critics point to the absence of the word “privacy” in the newly minted legal framework for the CBDCs as proof that citizens may be coerced into using the offering. However, Russia says it will not force the digital ruble on citizens, noting that it will be purely a matter of choice.
“This is an absolutely voluntary use,” Elvira Nabiullina, chairman of the Bank of Russia, said. “This is an additional opportunity for people.”
Russia’s banking regulator may roll out incentives for citizens that use the digital ruble, with stakeholders noting that the CBDC’s inherent features are enough incentive to drive adoption rates. They point to settlement speed, low transaction costs, transparency, and higher deposit protections offered by the government as reasons for residents to pivot to CBDCs.
Cross-border transactions driving CBDC studies
A large chunk of Russia’s CBDC push hinges on the need to circumvent financial sanctions imposed by Western governments after it invaded Ukraine. The removal of large Russian banks from the SWIFT platform forced the government to explore alternative measures—including stablecoins, digital currencies, and CBDCs.
After months of exploration, the central bank and the Ministry of Finance have reached a consensus on using CBDC to lessen the effect of the sanctions.
“The main thing is to have agreements between two or more countries,” Olga Skorobogatova, First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Russia, said. “If there are such agreements, then the integration of digital currencies can really replace SWIFT because payments and information on them will take place in a completely different settlement infrastructure than now.”
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