Report: five Russian banks are ready to join digital ruble pilot

Five Russian banks expressed interest in a possible pilot project of the digital ruble if it is launched by the Bank of Russia. The RNKB from the disputed region of Crimea is among them.

The Moscow Credit Bank (MKB), Promsvyazbank (PSB), Zenit, Dom.RF and Crimean Russian National Commercial Bank (RNCB) expressed their interest in piloting the project of digital ruble, the Russian newspaper Izvestia reports. MKB hopes to be among pioneers and support the pilot project, the bank told Izvestia. Promsvyazbank, Dom.RF, Zenit, and the Crimean RNKB are also interested in participating in the pilot. The latter stressed that it is necessary to provide Crimea with the most modern banking technologies. After the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, the majority of financial service operators, banks and payment systems ceased operations in the region due to international sanctions. Only 6 operating Russian banks remained out of 36 in the first years of annexation. All of them are under international sanctions.

This week, the Bank of Russia published a report on the benefits and risks of the digital ruble and announced the start of public consultations on a possible pilot project for the digital ruble.

“Citizens will be able to deposit digital rubles on their e-wallets and use them via mobile devices and other gadgets, both online and offline,” the report reads.

According to the report, the digital ruble will be “a digital form of the national currency and will have all the necessary properties to perform the functions of money.” It is an additional form of money that can circulate alongside cash and non-cash rubles and can be converted to another legal form of national money. It is assumed that each “unit” of the digital ruble will have a unique digital code, similar to the numbers on banknotes.

In January, German Deutsche Bank published a report according to which digital currencies have already demonstrated that they can drastically change the sphere of payments and banking operations, the work of central banks, and foreign trade balance.

The bank’s analysts supposed that new digital currencies could go mainstream in the next two years. According to the report, if CBDCs are deployed, central banks will be able to directly open credit lines to citizens. This could solve many of the problems caused by the existing fractional reserve banking system.


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