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12 Russian banks including Sberbank, VTB and Tinkoff Bank will help the Central Bank of Russia test a digital ruble in January 2022.
The central bank of Russia is forming a group of banking institutions to test a central bank digital currency (CBDC) next year.
On Tuesday, the Central Bank of Russia officially announced the creation of the first pilot group to test the digital ruble, bringing together 12 Russian banks.
Pilot members include Russia’s largest banks such as state-backed Sberbank and VTB, as well as large private banks such as Tinkoff Bank. Other participants include the commercial bank Alfa Bank, Gazprombank, Promsvyazbank, Rosbank, Ak Bars Bank, Dom.RF, SKB-Bank, TKB and Soyuz bank.
The bank reconfirmed Russia’s plan to complete a prototype digital ruble platform by the end of 2021 and test it out by January 2022. The first phase of the testing process will involve the issuance of a digital ruble and a number of other activities. The Central Bank of Russia then plans to expand the number of participants and the scope of pilot activities.
The first deputy governor of the Central Bank of Russia, Olga Skorobogatova, said that the digital ruble will increase solvency while reducing costs.
The Central Bank of Russia has officially announced its CBDC plan, releasing a consultation document on the development of a digital ruble in October 2020.
The central bank’s preference for digital rubles over private cryptocurrencies has drawn the ire of a number of celebrities, including prominent tycoon Oleg Deripaska, who recently argued that the bank should provide a “real financial instrument that would allow independence in foreign trade settlements”.
The CEO of Tinkoff says that central bank policies have prevented Tinkoff from providing cryptocurrency trading services.
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