Most Russians Wary of Digital Ruble, Survey Finds – Blow for Moscow’s CBDC?

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
The Kremlin, in Moscow, Russia.
Source: yulenochekk/Adobe

Most Russian citizens say they distrust or have no interest in using the digital ruble, Russia’s CBDC, a survey has found.

The survey was carried out by the media outlet and information service provider BankInform, which asked its subscribers to give their thoughts on the CBDC.

The coin is currently being piloted in “real-world” scenarios with what the Central Bank has labeled a “select group of consumers.”

Fifteen Russian commercial banks are also participating in the pilot, along with a small group of small- and medium-sized retailers.

The media outlet reported that “only” 13% of respondents said they “intend to use the digital ruble” and “see it as bringing new opportunities.”

Over a third of respondents (34%) said that while they were “interested in the arrival” of a “new form of the ruble,” they had no intention of using the token.

More than a fifth of respondents (21%) said they were “not interested at all” in the digital ruble.

And it appears that the Central Bank has a lot of PR work to do if it is to win over Russian hearts and minds.

The media outlet wrote:

“The most curious result of our survey is the fact that 32% chose an option that read: ‘The digital ruble is some kind of fraud. People should exercise caution.’”

BankInform opined that this option was selected predominately by “people who are poorly informed about the digital ruble.”

But it claimed that “it would be an oversimplification to reduce everything to ignorance.”

The media outlet wrote:

“Increased awareness does not guarantee that suspicions will dissipate.”

And it claimed that its “small” survey demonstrated the “need for a large-scale study, which has not yet been attended to.”

The exterior of the Russian Central Bank’s Nizhny Novgorod offices.
The Russian Central Bank’s Nizhny Novgorod offices. (Source: amanderson2 [CC BY 2.0])

Russia’s Digital Ruble – Problems for Moscow’s CBDC?

The news follows developments earlier this week from the nation’s biggest banking association, which claimed that citizens were “extremely wary” of the digital ruble.

The group wrote a letter to the Central Bank with “a request to clarify certain issues pertaining to the digital ruble.”

And the association called on the Central Bank to introduce “a direct ban on forcing citizens to open a digital ruble wallet.”

Business leaders in Russia have also expressed mixed feelings about Moscow’s fast-tracked digital ruble pilot.

But the Kremlin and the bank appear to think that a Russian CBDC will help Moscow and its allies de-dollarize their trade operations without the need for further cryptoasset adoption.