Russia’s Central Bank Authorized to Issue CBDC

Russia’s Digital Ruble Law Signed by President Putin

Jul 25, 2023
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Central Bank of Russia to Begin Testing CBDC on August 1.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed the Digital Ruble Law, formally authorizing the Central Bank of Russia to issue its own central bank digital currency (CBDC).

The law was passed by both houses of the Russian parliament in the last two weeks, with the third and final hearing on the bill being held on July 11. With Putin’s approval, the Central Bank can now begin testing the CBDC on August 1.

The draft law legally defines users and details how banks will function and operate under the new financial framework. The Central Bank of Russia has been working on its CBDC project since 2020, launching it in February 2022 with a number of Russian banks as pilots. Russians will be able to make payments and transfers from their digital wallets through the central bank’s platform or one of its partner banks. However, CBDCs can only be used for payments or transfers, not for loans or deposits.

Despite this progress, Russian officials do not expect widespread use of CBDCs for several years. Olga Skorobogatova, the first deputy chairwoman of the Bank of Russia, told Forbes earlier this month that most Russians will not have access to online wallets until 2025 at the earliest. The governor of Russia’s central bank, Elvira Naibullina, assured Russians that they would not be forced to adopt the digital ruble but hoped that more people would consider doing so.

This comes as news reports say that Russia is facing severe inflation due to Western financial sanctions against the country.

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