Russia’s version of a state-backed digital currency, the digital ruble, will play a key role in the future of payments in Russia. As per a new report by the country’s central bank, the digital ruble will need to be accessible both online and offline and will be easy to integrate into existing payment systems.
Russia has joined its peers, led by China, who are exploring a central bank digital currency to stay ahead of the digital payments curve. As CoinGeek reported in March, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) announced that it would launch a digital ruble prototype this year. During the pilot test, the CBDC would not support real-time transactions.
Now, the CBR has released its comprehensive strategy for the payments industry for the next three years. One of the things that stand out is the great role that the bank expects the digital ruble to play in the next three years.
CBR reiterated some of the points it has made in the past, such as the need for the CBDC to be available both online and offline. This has become a key factor for CBDC developers globally. China has been working on this feature, while the Bahamas has already launched its Sand Dollar.
Additional features that the CBR expects to include in the new digital ruble include APIs that make it easy to integrate the CBDC into any other existing payment systems.
The CBR has scheduled the initial pilots for 2022.
The accelerated digital ruble initiative comes at a time when the Biden administration has imposed more sanctions on Russia. A week ago, President Biden imposed several punitive measures targeting Russian companies and individuals. He also prohibited transactions in ruble-denominated debt involving Russia. This new wave of sanctions is not new to Russia. However, even then, its national currency will continue to suffer. Russia may look to the digital ruble to overcome the sanctions.
China, Russia’s neighbor to the south, has also been developing its digital yuan. China has however sought to clarify that its digital yuan will not be a replacement for the dollar, nor will it seek to give China the opportunity to evade sanctions.
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