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Digital Ruble Will Spark Russia’s ‘Biggest Monetary Reforms Since the 1990s’

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read
A Russian 1-ruble coin rests on a pile of RUB 1,000 banknotes.
Source: Larisa/Adobe

The launch of the Russian digital ruble will trigger the nation’s “largest monetary reforms since the 1990s,” a media report has claimed.

Per ProGorod, Russia’s CBDC project will be the biggest transformative event in the nation’s economic history since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The digital ruble “real-world” pilot began in August this year in 11 cities nationwide, including Moscow and Yekaterinburg.

But the Central Bank has grand plans for rapid expansion in 2024, with at least 16 more banks joining the pilot.

The Ministry of Finance has announced that the government also wants to start using the coin next year.

The ministry additionally suggested Moscow is targetting a nationwide rollout no later than 2025.

This claim is somewhat bolder than the Central Bank’s original timeline of a “2025 to 207 rollout.”

‘Marked Digital Rubles’ to Debut in 2024?

Finance minister Anton Siluanov said Moscow wants to use the coin to make “social payments” and pay “subsidies.”

However, the ministry appears keen to push ahead with plans to “color” or “mark” some digital RUB coins.

The plan, first mooted by the Central Bank in September, could allow the bank and others to “track the use of funds allocated for specific purposes.”

Previously, the bank’s Deputy Governor said that “color-coded” digital rubles could be used to issue “state budget funds.”

Siluanov suggested that the ministry would begin the year by piloting a range of Treasury payments, possibly including subsidy transactions.

The ministry may also seek to experiment with “marked” digital ruble-powered child benefits and pensions in 2024.

The media outlet explained that a practical “example,” of CBDC “coloring” could come in the child benefits sphere.

ProGorod wrote:

“[Colored digital rubles] could be used to ensure child benefit payments are used as intended, and not to pay off loans and fines.”

Late last month, the government indicated that it was preparing to give Russian bailiffs more power to seize CBDC coins and cryptoassets.

However, some lawmakers are not content with the Central Bank’s digital ruble plans.

A group of MPs wants to ditch the current retail model in favor of a wholesale CBDC.