Russian Central Bank to Speed Up Digital Ruble Trials Amid Pressure Due to Western Sanctions

The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) has decided to accelerate the development of its digital ruble in response to the sanctions imposed on the country since the invasion of Ukraine. Under the newly released roadmap, the second phase – where programmable and traceable digital token will be integrated, on a small scale, into “real money” operations – is now scheduled to begin in April 2023. Essentially, the monetary authority now intends to conduct the transactions With the new issue of national securities in early 2023 instead of 2024 as originally planned.

The Russian Central Bank will start beta tests of the digital ruble with real customers and using smart contracts, as announced this week by the deputy head of the issuing body, Olga Skorobogatova, according to EFE, citing Interfax.

“We plan to start a pilot project with real customers and real operations from April of next year,” Skorobogatova said at a meeting of the Association of Russian Banks. “Most of the experimental banks are participating in experimental operations,” the Russian official explained.

The pilot project also includes tests for the use of smart contracts – computer programs written in code that allow automatic compliance with terms agreed between the parties without the need for intermediaries.

The Russian Central Bank announced a month ago that it was already testing a prototype of the digital ruble it had created with banks. The tests include opening digital wallets to bank customers and transfers between users.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov announced earlier this month that it was only a matter of time before the country decided to recognize cryptocurrency as a legal means of payment. Speaking at an educational event, Manturov said: “The question is when it will happen, how it will happen and how it will be regulated. Now both the central bank and the government are actively involved in this matter.”

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