Experts in Russia believe that the country’s Central Bank will launch its digital ruble by 2025, with major banks expressing their eagerness to collaborate on the central bank digital currency (CBDC) project. While citizens may not have access to the CBDC until 2025, there is a possibility that Moscow will accelerate the timeline. The imposition of US and EU-led sanctions on Russia has accelerated the Central Bank’s efforts to launch the CBDC as part of a broader strategy to reduce dependence on the US dollar in trade.
Although the Central Bank has stated that cross-border CBDCs are still a distant prospect, discussions about a BRICS stablecoin and a gold-backed token for trade with Iran have taken place. Russian and Iranian crypto leaders have also increased their cooperation in recent months. State-backed stablecoin plans 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 its CBDC in cross-border payments with friendly countries. Russian banks have shown keen interest in participating in the CBDC project. DOM.RF Bank stated that it is technically prepared to launch the project when given the green light, while Rosbank expressed its readiness to participate in a pilot project with real clients. Alfa-Bank expressed excitement about the prospects of the digital ruble project. Other major banks, including VTB, Promsvyazbank, Sinara, Delobank, TKB, and MTS Bank, also expressed their intentions to participate in the pilot launch.
TKB hinted that the real-world pilot launch could take place in a matter of days, with their tests scheduled for the end of July. Russian Prosecutor-General Igor Krasnov recently visited China and highlighted the common interest of both nations in streamlining their CBDC-related legal systems to prevent criminal abuse. Krasnov praised China’s introduction of the 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 for a rollout by 2025. Banks in Russia are enthusiastic about collaborating on the CBDC project, and there is a growing focus on cross-border payments with friendly nations. Discussions about stablecoins and increased cooperation with Iran indicate the potential for broader international usage of the digital ruble in the future.