Russian CBDC ‘to Roll Out in 2025’ – Could Banks Accelerate Digital Ruble Launch?

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
A representation of the world, with Russia shaded in red and other countries colored in blue.
Source: harvepino/Adobe

Russian experts think the Central Bank will roll out its digital ruble by 2025, with the nation’s biggest banks expressing their eagerness to work with the central bank digital currency (CBDC).

The Central Bank is fast-tracking its CBDC rollout, but Delovoi Peterburg reported that “citizens” will “have access to [the CBDC] no earlier than 2025.”

Moscow may hope to move this deadline forward, however.

Many of the nation’s largest commercial banks have openly declared their interest in partnering with the Central Bank’s soon-to-start “real-world” CBDC tests.

US and EU-led sanctions have effectively barred Moscow from trading in the US dollar.

And this has sped up the Central Bank’s efforts to launch a CBDC, with the hope of purging dollar trade from Russia once and for all.

Although the Central Bank has claimed that “cross-border CBDCs” are still some way off, a BRICS stablecoin and a gold-backed token that could be used in trade with Iran have both been discussed “at length.”

Russian and Iranian crypto leaders also appear to have stepped up cooperation efforts in recent months.

Observers have stated that state-backed stablecoin plans could be revisited at the next BRICS summit.

The summit is slated to be held in Sandton, Johannesburg, from August 22 to 24.

The five leaders of the BRICS nations join hands in front of their nation’s flags at a meeting in 2019.
BRICS heads of state at a meeting in 2019. (Source: Alan Santos/PR [CC BY 2.0])

Russia’s CBDC ‘to Roll Out in 2025’ – Do Banks Want Faster Progress?

Unlike Beijing, Moscow has repeatedly talked up the notion of eventually using its CBDC in the cross-border payments space with “friendly countries.”

And Russian banks appear to be keen to get on board.

The same media outlet quoted DOM.RF Bank as stating that it was “technically ready to launch the project as soon as the command to start is given.”

Rosbank, meanwhile, said that it was “ready to participate in a pilot project with real clients.”

And Alfa-Bank enthused that it was excited by the “prospects” of the digital ruble “project.”

Tass quoted VTB, another Russian megabank, as stating that it had already selected a “limited circle of clients and employees” to make use of the prototype coin, with a “focus group” already “formed.”

Similar statements were made by rival banks such as Promsvyazbank, Sinara, Delobank, TKB, and MTS Bank.

TKB hinted that the “real-world” pilot launch could come in a matter of days, commenting that its own tests were “scheduled for the end of July.”

Last week, the Russian Prosecutor-General Igor Krasnov visited his counterpart in China, where he said it would be in the “common interest” of both nations to streamline their CBDC-related legal systems.

This, he said, would help prevent criminals from abusing their CBDCs.

Krasnov stated of the digital yuan:

“China was one of the first nations in the world to introduce a CBDC, [partly] in order to protect the economy from the criminal influence of cryptocurrencies.”