Blockchain for Banking News

Russian CBDC status update: 25,000 transactions so far

digital ruble cbdc currency

At a meeting of the Association of Banks of Russia, both the central bank governor and deputy governor gave an update on the digital ruble. Trials for the central bank digital currency (CBDC) started in August last year after the passage of legislation. It started with a dozen banks, 600 end users and 30 merchants across 11 cities. The plan is to begin to roll out the CBDC next year.

So far there have been 25,000 transactions, with 19,000 for person-to-person payments. The balance involved consumers paying businesses. Around 3,500 payments involved smart contracts. According to the comments made, initially transactions were too slow. 

“In the beginning, of course, we saw errors on the banks’ side,” said Bank of Russia Deputy Governor Olga Skorobogatova, according to Interfax. “Let me remind you that banks here act as intermediaries; through their mobile application, a person opens a wallet and then carries out transactions. But banks very quickly eliminated all errors, and today we have not made such errors.”

“All users are interested in the time of operations. I must say that we look at the facts and the plan, and we are now conducting operations in a few seconds,” she added.

Digital ruble plans

Governor Elvira Nabiullina added that the testing is going according to plan. We previously reported that a second wave of 17 banks would include Russia’s largest bank, Sber. Nabiullina said the number was expanded to 19, but they still need to onboard.

Regarding functionality, the central bank will launch dynamic QR codes for payments and support online payments as well as business-to-business transfers. It also plans to develop smart contract functionality.

Unlike other central banks, the Bank of Russia and lawmakers are less concerned about the impact of a CBDC on banks. It also plans to centralize more functionality. For example, it has put out a tender for centralized support for the digital ruble.

Governor Nabiullina also confirmed that Digital Financial Assets (DFA), Russia’s regulated digital assets, are proceeding well. She said legislation allowing DFA to be used for cross border payments was passed by the State Duma.

Separately, Russia is currently chairing the BRICS group of countries and this year will produce a report on a BRICS Bridge solution for cross border CBDC.

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