According to a local report, the Bank of Russia is preparing to launch a central bank digital currency pilot on April 1st. The bank’s deputy chairman, Olga Skorobogatova, stated the pilot will include real transactions between real customers, but that their number will be limited.
Russia To Launch CDBC Pilot in April
On February 17th, Russia’s Central Bank announced it plans to go live with a CBDC pilot on April 1st. The pilot will include transactions with real customers but will be limited and not available to the general public. Reportedly, 13 banks will participate and have already signaled their readiness.
If the test proves successful, the digital ruble could become a fully-fledged reality in 2024. Throughout the previous year, Russia has slowly been working on becoming more crypto-friendly. In late September, the Moscow Stock Exchange revealed its plans to start offering cryptocurrencies.
Last September, Russia’s Central Bank reached an agreement with the country’s Ministry of Finance on a bill that would enable cross-border cryptocurrency payments. More recently, it was reported that Sberbank is working on an Ethereum-based platform which it intends to launch in May.
How Close Are Widespread CBDCs?
Russia is far from the only country actively pursuing a central bank digital currency—around 100 countries and all G7 economies are actively exploring CBDCs. In early 2023, the Bank of Spain greenlit a relatively small private company-led project that it hopes will become an “embryo” for the future development of the planned digital euro.
Additionally, while many in the FED are skeptical toward an American CBDC, more and more reports are indicating that central bank digital currencies are the future. Already in January 2022, the Bank of America concluded that a digital dollar is inevitable, while IBM’s Web3 Executive Parter stated that such digital currencies are simply the future of money and payments.
Some, however, remain highly skeptical of CBDC. There have been long-standing disagreements on the impact central bank digital currencies will have on privacy. More recently, a UK advocacy group launched a campaign attempting to prevent the creation of a digital pound.
This article originally appeared on The Tokenist
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