The digital ruble is the third state aggregate of the Russian ruble.
Photo: Svetlana MAKOVEEVA
Finally, the pilot project of the Central Bank to introduce the digital ruble will be launched. Now there is preparation. And from April 1, 2023, 13 large Russian banks will start testing the new mechanism at once. And on live clients. What will the experiment be like? Who will take part in it? And is it worth worrying about your money?
TRAINING IN THE CHOSEN
I’ll tell you right away. If you are participating in an experiment, then you must know this or you will soon find out. Without your consent, no digital rubles will appear on your account. The big banks select “daring men” for the experiment, both among customers and among commercial companies. They will test the new system.
The digital ruble system at the Central Bank has been brewing for several years. And now we have entered the pilot test. Photo: Central Bank of the Russian Federation
– We plan to launch a pilot stage on April 1 with transactions between individuals and payments in commerce and service companies. I will immediately draw your attention to the fact that the pilot will carry out real transactions, real clients, but for a limited number of transactions and for a limited number of clients with 13 banks that have already technically confirmed their readiness, – Olga Skorobogatova , First Vice President of the Central Bank, explained at the Cybersecurity in Finance forum in Yekaterinburg.
The digital ruble system at the Central Bank has been brewing for several years. And now we have entered the pilot test. Here we go among the first in the world. They only surpass us in China. And with South Korea and Sweden we are going step by step.
WHAT IS A DIGITAL RUBLE AND WHAT IS IT NEEDED FOR?
The digital ruble is the third state aggregate of the Russian ruble. It will go along with cash and non-cash rubles. The digital ruble combines the properties of both.
– Like non-cash money, the digital ruble makes remote payments and online settlements possible. Like cash, the digital ruble can be used offline, in the absence of Internet access, explains the Central Bank.
All three forms of the Russian ruble will be absolutely equivalent. Photo: Central Bank of the Russian Federation
The three forms of the Russian ruble will be absolutely equivalent: since 1 cash ruble now equals 1 non-cash ruble, 1 digital ruble will equal each of them.
Why do we need a digital ruble in principle?
The question is difficult. On the one hand, it does not provide great added value or additional convenience to consumers. Even offline payments now work quite well, for example during flights. On the other hand, perhaps they used to think the same way when cashless payments first appeared. And now almost 80% of transactions in Russia are carried out using plastic cards. And citizens transfer to each other tens of trillions of rubles a year.
That is, will the ruble now become a cryptocurrency?
Not precisely. The essence of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is that they do not have a single issuer (that is, the official body that issues them). And for the digital ruble, it will be the Central Bank. That is, this form of currency will be official. It must be accepted everywhere.
Where will they be stored?
The peculiarity of digital rubles is that they will not be stored in a specific bank, but in a digital wallet in the Treasury of the Russian Federation. Thus, they will have the maximum degree of protection. At the same time, anyone can access your digital wallet through the mobile application of any bank.
Will I have to pay a commission when exchanging one type of ruble for another?
No, there will be no commission. As now it is not, for example, when paying cash into a bank account. The Central Bank plans to make a “seamless” technology that will allow you to instantly transfer rubles from one form to another and vice versa.
Will it be possible to receive interest on digital rubles or borrow them at lower rates?
No, there is no such functionality yet. The difficulty is that digital rubles will be stored in digital wallets on a centralized state platform. Neither the Central Bank nor the Treasury are commercial organizations to pay interest or issue loans. Yes, and there is no point in creating competition in this market for existing banks.
Maybe this is the first step to giving up cash?
Hardly. Cash is still being issued in all countries of the world. Even in high-tech Sweden, where the proportion of non-cash payments has long been above 90%, cash has not been withdrawn from circulation. In the first place, because there is a large percentage of citizens who usually use them more frequently. Secondly, because online money must have a physical alternative. And digital currency, even with the ability to pay for it offline, will still not replace paper notes.