Russia begins CBDC testing as the fate of cryptocurrencies hangs in limbo

Russia begins CBDC testing as cryptocurrency fate hangs in limbo - CBDC trial of Digital RubleRussia, at the moment, has become the focus of attention for people around the world and industries due to two main circumstances. The first is the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, the second is the cryptocurrency debate.

Russia is moving forward with the CBDC

After proposing a ban on cryptocurrency mining and trading in the country, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation announced yesterday that it is starting the first phase of its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) test.

Of the 12 banks in the pilot group that started interest in being part of this process, three have already connected to the platform according to the Bank of Russia.

Indeed, two of them have already completed a full cycle of operations for the transfer of digital rubles between customers. 

In order to conduct transactions using digital rubles, the Bank of Russia enabled access to the digital wallet through the mobile application of any bank.

In addition, in the first phase, the bank has decided to test the issuance of digital rubles that will be conducted by the Bank of Russia itself.

The next step is the launch of digital wallets and the enabling of transactions between citizens. After the successful completion of the first phase, the Bank of Russia is aiming to test the CBDC for payments.

At the same time, the implementation of smart contracts and the interaction with the Federal Treasury will also be tested.

Regarding the announcement, Bank of Russia First Deputy Governor Olga Skorobogatova said:

“The digital ruble platform is a new opportunity for citizens, businesses and the state. We expect digital rubles transfers to citizens to be free and available in any region of the country, and for businesses this will reduce costs and create opportunities for the development of innovative products and services.

During this year, we will test various scenarios and refine the digital ruble platform. In the later stages of platform development, we also plan to provide seamless interaction with digital platforms and digital ecosystems. "

The bank further added that a roadmap will be implemented based on the test results in the future.

To ban or not to ban? That is the question

While the Central Bank focuses on CBDCs, members of the government in Russia have suggested their own methods for regulating cryptocurrencies.

Recently President Vladimir Putin spoke out in favor of crypto mining citing competitive advantage.

This was followed by reports from the bank which is now considering treating cryptocurrencies as currencies. Not long after, the Ministry of Economic Development asked to tax cryptocurrencies at the time of their conversion into rubles.

It appears that Russia is following in the footsteps of countries like Tunisia, China and India where CBDCs have become the target of governments to escape discussions about the legal status of cryptocurrencies.