Experts in Russia believe that the country’s Central Bank will launch its digital ruble in 2025, with major banks expressing their desire to collaborate on a central bank digital currency (CBDC) project. While citizens may not have access to CBDCs until 2025, it’s possible Moscow will accelerate its timetable. The imposition of US and EU-led sanctions against Russia has accelerated the Central Bank’s efforts to launch a CBDC as part of a broader strategy to reduce reliance on the US dollar in trade.
Although the Central Bank has stated that a cross-border CBDC is still a distant prospect, discussions about BRICS stablecoins and gold-backed tokens for trading with Iran have been underway. Russian and Iranian crypto leaders have also stepped up their cooperation in recent months. Plans for state-backed stablecoins may be revisited at the upcoming BRICS Summit scheduled to be held in Johannesburg from August 22 to 24.
Unlike Beijing, Moscow has emphasized the potential use of CBDCs in cross-border payments with friendly countries. Russian banks have shown interest in participating in the CBDC project. Bank DOM.RF declared technically ready to launch the project when given the green light, while Rosbank declared its readiness to participate in a pilot project with a real client. Alfa-Bank expressed excitement about the prospects for the digital ruble project. Other major banks, including VTB, Promsvyazbank, Sinara, Delobank, TKB and MTS Bank, also expressed their intention to participate in the pilot launch.
TKB hinted that real-world pilot launches could be made in a matter of days, with their testing scheduled for late July. Russia’s Attorney General Igor Krasnov recently visited China and highlighted the mutual interest of the two countries in streamlining their CBDC-related legal systems to prevent criminal abuse. Krasnov hailed China’s introduction of a digital yuan as a measure to protect the economy from the criminal influence of cryptocurrencies.
In summary, Russia is making significant progress in developing its digital ruble, with the Central Bank aiming to launch it by 2025. Banks in Russia are keen to collaborate on the CBDC project, and there is an increasing focus on cross-border payments with friendly countries. Discussions about stablecoins and increased cooperation with Iran point to the potential for wider international use of the digital ruble in the future.