Digital ruble coins

Digital ruble will take 5-7 years to achieve mass adoption: Bank of Russia

Russia has made great leaps with its central bank digital currency (CBDC) over the past year, but according to the country’s central bank, it will take over five years before the digital ruble gains mass adoption.

Elvira Nabiullina, the Governor of the Bank of Russia, took to the State Duma this week to discuss the digital ruble pilot which kicked off last August. She discussed the results thus far and the bank’s expansion plans as it continues to onboard commercial banks as intermediaries.

Nabiullina told the lawmakers that the Bank of Russia hasn’t determined the expansion strategy, but it’s studying the results from the pilot to assess the best way forward. Any decision is unlikely to be made before 2025, she added.

On when the CBDC will dominate payments in Russia, Nabiullina said it might take up to seven years.

“We are asked the question: when will the digital ruble become a mass product? In our opinion, this will take five to seven years. This will be a natural process because the choice of the people themselves and the business is fundamental; it should be convenient for them,” she told the legislators, as reported by RIA Novosti.

The governor’s remarks refute a study published two weeks ago by two economists from the Higher School of Economics, the third-best-ranked Russian university. In their study, the two claimed that the digital ruble’s share of the payments market would exceed 40% in a year. They claimed that once the currency gains critical mass, the network effect would draw more users, making it ubiquitous across the country.

Anatoly Aksakov, the chair of the Parliamentary Committee on the Financial Market, also recently claimed that the digital ruble’s full launch would begin next year. In 2026, Russians could use the CBDC to make payments nationwide.

The Bank of Russia has continued to onboard the country’s lenders as intermediaries in the CBDC system. While the banks encountered some glitches when the currency launched, they have since solved them. The central bank revealed in March that users in the pilot had made over 25,000 transactions, a majority of which were person-to-person.

To learn more about central bank digital currencies and some of the design decisions that need to be considered when creating and launching it, read nChain’s CBDC playbook.

Watch: Central Bank Digital Currencies and Blockchain—The view from the Swiss National Bank

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