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Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa Have a ‘Crypto’ Plan

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read

The BRICS Business Council has discussed the possibility of creating a single ‘cryptocurrency’ to facilitate settlements between member countries, after Russia’s sovereign wealth fund put forward a proposal.

Source: iStock/Gil-Design

The BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – met in Brazilia this week. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) says it tabled the motion at the summit. Its Director-General and BRICS Business Council member, Kirill Dmitriev, told reporters that the move was part of the BRICS members’ ongoing goal of reducing their dependence on United States dollars in foreign trade deals.

Per RBC, Nikita Kulikov, PravoRobotov founder and the head of the parliamentary advisory committee on the digital economy, opined that the proposed BRICS cryptocurrency would be quite unlike most digital tokens.

He stated that although “creating a cryptocurrency is not difficult, as the technology is understandable enough,” the BRICS token would not be a “fully formed settlement instrument.” Instead, it would provide parties with the ability to transfer payment obligations and create legally binding payment agreements.

Kulikov opined,

“It will not be moneyper se. Instead, one could call it a paperless document flow system that facilitates transactions.”

Readers may recall that Russia and other CIS nations have previously discussed the idea of launching a digital token or cryptocurrency to facilitate cross-border payments.

However, Moscow seems to favor a system that would let it restrict access to the token. Kulikov has previously stated that the so-called crypto-ruble, should it ever emerge, may only be used at the inter-state or inter-bank level. Politicians have stressed that such a token would not be for public or individual use – and would likely only be used by official government channels or in international B2B trade deals.

The crypto proposal is part of a wider BRICS discussion on creating a shared payment system. Dmitriev has indicated that board members are united in their support of such a system.

BRICS nations are also keen to create a currency-agnostic mobile-based e-pay system for the general public in all five nations called BRICS Pay. The platform would make use of a mobile app linked to personal bank accounts that would let customers in any of the nations pay for purchases in any BRICS country-based store.