The Russian central bank, the Bank of Russia, unveiled a possible date for its central bank-backed digital currency (CBDC) to enter active circulation. In a recent monetary update, the bank anticipates rolling out the digital rubble in the first quarter of 2024. The unveiling will see registered financial institutions in the country linked to the digital asset.
The roll-out coincides with another important event in the country – the presidential elections in March of the same year. Vladimir Putin, the country’s current president, is still constitutionally eligible for another term in office.
To gear up for the unveiling, the Bank of Russia intends to conduct real-world monetary transaction trials peer-to-peer between customers successfully. Customer-to-business trials will also take place. Apart from basic financial transaction trials involving customers and businesses, the Russian central bank also projects to put its CBDC to the test with smart contracts. However, smart contract-based trials will only be between a selected few.
According to the bank, the digital rubble’s rollout will be gradual, with different trials every year. The central bank also looks to unlock digital rubble-based transactions between the government, businesses, and consumers.
In 2025, the Bank of Russia forecasts the presence of an offline version of its CBDC and including other financial firms such as exchanges. The bank revealed that the gradual introduction of the digital rubble helps participants “adapt to new conditions.”
Notably, the Russian central bank revealed that it would work with other institutions worldwide, developing a similar product focusing on cross-border transactions, among other features. The country kickstarted its CBDC trials in February after releasing a digital rubble roadmap in 2021. Despite having plans to develop a CBDC, the Bank of Russia has been missing targets on virtual currency regulation in the country.