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Russia sets preconditions for digital ruble rollout

Russia sets preconditions for digital ruble rollout
The Bank of Russia has said it will adopt the digital ruble (CBDC) only after it makes sure the national currency can be easily converted from cash into a digital form, and only at a one-to-one ratio.

“It should be a real, full-fledged ruble – no discount or anything else,” the central bank’s governor Elvira Nabiullina told the State Duma committee this week, adding that the regulator expects to test the digital ruble for at least a year before an actual rollout. The task for the CBDC is to help make transactions cheaper, she said.

Nabiullina made it clear that the key condition for successful implementation of the digital ruble is that it should not accelerate inflation. “Our assumption is that the introduction of the digital ruble … will not affect inflation,” she said.

The concept of a national digital currency was unveiled by the Bank of Russia in late 2020. The new form of money is expected to coexist with cash and non-cash rubles. Unlike virtual currencies such as bitcoin, the digital ruble is projected to pose minimal risk as it will be issued by the state monetary regulator and be backed by traditional money. Russia is now preparing to adopt the necessary legislation, launch a prototype, and begin trials with the participation of commercial banks and other organizations.

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