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Russian Banks to Quiz Central Bank on Digital Ruble Pilot Next Month

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
Two bundles of Russian 1,000 ruble banknotes atop another pile of lose banknotes.
Source: Sergey Yarochkin/Adobe

Russian banks will have the opportunity to question the Central Bank on its digital ruble pilot next month.

The Central Bank is facing a backlash from some sections of the banking industry after beginning “real-world” transactions with its CBDC earlier this month.

The megabanks Sberbank and Tinkoff Bank also withdrew from the pilot at the eleventh hour for undisclosed reasons.

The Association of Banks of Russia (ASROS), Russia’s biggest banking industry group, has previously written to the Central Bank to ask for guarantees about the CBDC’s future.

ASROS claimed that its members’ customers were “wary” of the CBDC.

And it appears that ASROS will get answers when it holds the 20th edition of its “international banking” forum in Sochi next month.

Per an official announcement, Central Bank officials will attend the event, including Governor Elvira Nabiullina, along with the bank’s financial stability chief and two Deputy Governors.

Nabiullina is the digital ruble’s chief architect, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, and one of the country’s fiercest crypto skeptics.

Central Bank’s Digital Ruble Plan: Russian Banks ‘Wary’

Nabiullina hopes to fast-track the digital ruble’s nationwide launch “by 2025-2027,” an announcement that appears to have spooked many commercial banks.

The ASROS forum will feature a round table session entitled “The Digital Ruble: Future or Reality?”

The session will be chaired by Georgy Luntovsky, President of ASROS.

He and others will have the chance to question Alla Bakina, Director of the Central Bank’s National Payment System Department, along with other Central Bank officials.

Executives from banking heavyweights such as Promsvyazbank (PSB) and Center-Invest Bank will also have the chance to grill Bakina.

The exterior of a branch of Promsvyazbank (PSB) in Moscow, Russia.
A branch of Promsvyazbank (PSB) in Moscow, Russia. (Source: Brateevsky [CC BY-SA 4.0])

The Central Bank, Interfax reported, is expected to discuss the preliminary “results” of the pilot and its vision for “future stages of the [CBDC’s] development.”

Luntovsky stated:

“I look forward to an open conversation with the [Central Bank] about the results of the first pilot stage. [This will also be an] opportunity for banks to ask questions about their [CBDC-related] concerns.”

The forum will be held on September 27-30.

PSB customers this month became the first non-bank employees in the nation to use the coin, with one of the bank’s clients using the token to pay for “education-related B2C services.”