Amid new reports that the Bank of Russia has rejected a proposal from the Ministry of Finance to regulate cryptocurrencies, the central bank has begun testing its own digital currency.
The Central Bank of Russia has officially launched a digital ruble trial by successfully completing the first central bank digital currency transfers (CBDC) among citizens, the Bank of Russia said on Tuesday. The launch is in line with the bank’s plans to debut the first digital ruble transactions in early 2022.
Three of the 12 financial institutions in the digital ruble pilot group have already integrated the CBDC platform, with two of them completing “a full cycle of customer-to-customer digital ruble transfers using mobile banking apps,” the bank said in a statement.
During the first stage of testing, users will open wallets on the digital ruble platform through a mobile application, as well as convert non-cash fiat funds into CBDC and make transactions using the latest tokens.
At the second stage, the bank plans to test the digital ruble as payment for goods and services, as well as other possible implementations related to smart contracts and interaction with the Federal Treasury. In the future, the central bank also plans to introduce offline digital ruble payments and enable non-resident clients to conduct transactions, the report says.
Olga Skorobogatova, First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Russia, said that the digital ruble is “a new opportunity for citizens, businesses and the state,” adding that such transactions will be free and available in any region of the country.
The Bank of Russia also indicated that the unique digital ruble will be available through the “mobile application of any bank serving the client.”
The Bank of Russia statement comes amid local reports alleging that the Bank of Russia has officially opposed the concept of regulating cryptocurrencies introduced by the Finance Ministry on February 8.
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At a press conference on February 11, Elvira Nabiullina, Chairman of the Bank of Russia, said that the agency would continue to fight the introduction of cryptocurrency in Russia by all means, stating:
“We will spare no effort to convince the government and elaborate on our arguments because we see significant risks. I’m counting on common sense here.”