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Bank of Russia forms first digital ruble testing group

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The pilot group for testing the digital ruble, which should become the third form of money along with cash and non-cash, will include 12 banks, the Central Bank of Russia said.

The testing group, which will last a year starting from January 2022, includes Sberbank, VTB, Gazprombank, Alfa-Bank, Dom.RF Bank, Rosbank, Promsvyazbank, Tinkoff Bank, SKB-Bank, Ak Bars Bank, Transcapitalbank and bank “Soyuz”.

The digital ruble is a project to create a new payment infrastructure. To increase the availability and reduce the cost of payments and transfers for citizens and businesses.

For convenience of its use, it’s necessary to ensure a seamless transition from one form of the ruble to another. That’s why it is extremely important for the Central Bank to interact with market participants at all stages of piloting. To organize such interaction, the Central Bank promptly formed the first pilot group of banks. So that they had time to set up their systems and processes for piloting from a technical and technological point of view.

Development of a prototype platform for the digital ruble, according to the CB, should be completed in December this year. From January 2022, testing with the participation of banks will take place in several stages. At the first stage they will test the issue of the digital ruble, transfers between individuals and the interaction of the client, the bank and the digital ruble platform. The second stage will test payment for goods and services. Further, the Central Bank, together with the rest of the banks, will choose the next stage. Depending on what will be most interesting to the market. After testing, they will make a decision whether and when to switch to real operations.

The digital ruble and how it differs from other forms of money

The Central Bank presented the idea of the digital ruble in mid-October 2020. It assumed that it will be in the form of a unique digital code, which stored in a special electronic wallet. And will become a full-fledged means of payment along with the regular ruble.

Recall, according to the survey, half of the residents of the Russian Federation are ready to use the digital ruble.

Speaking about the difference between the digital ruble and non-cash payments, note that the platform of this new instrument, which has the properties of both cash and non-cash money, will provide all customers with the same conditions and tariffs for transactions throughout the country, regardless of the service bank.

So, at the moment, when making a payment or transfer through a mobile application, the user forced to do it according to the rules of a particular credit institution. Which itself sets the commission and selects the conditions. While the platform for the digital ruble will be unified. It will be introduced into bank applications through the Central Bank’s software module. As a result, a client who is a user of the services of several credit institutions will be able to seamlessly replenish a digital wallet through one bank, make a transfer through another, and make payments through a third.

As in other countries, the Central Bank will be the operator of the digital ruble platform. This currency will be issued on it. As well as wallets for financial institutions themselves will be opened and customer orders for transactions will be executed. Financial organizations, in turn, will open the respective wallets of clients and conduct their transactions with the new currency.

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