BRICS Countries Could Ditch Dollar in Favor of Common Payment System

The member countries of BRICS, an informal association of the world’s largest emerging economies, back the idea of developing a common payment system, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) Kirill Dmitriev has said, according to RBC.

Russia and its BRICS peers, Brazil, India, China and South Africa, have advocated using their national currencies in mutual trade as a way to decrease their dependence on the U.S. dollar.

“Increasing non-market risks of the global payment infrastructure” was behind the plan to integrate the group’s national payment systems, Dmitriev said.

“An efficient BRICS payment system can encourage payments in national currencies and ensure sustainable payments and investments among our countries, which make up over 20% of the global inflow of foreign direct investment,” Dmitriev, a member of the BRICS Business Council, told reporters.

He did not give details about the payment system envisaged, but Russia began developing a national payment system as an alternative to the Belgium-based SWIFT financial messaging service in 2014 after Western sanctions aimed to punish Moscow for the annexation of Crimea and its role in the Ukrainian crisis were imposed on Russia.

Dmitriev said the five BRICS nations had also discussed creating a common cryptocurrency for mutual payments as the grouping was reducing the share of payments in the U.S. dollar.

The share of the dollar in Russian foreign trade payments has fallen to 50% from 92% over the past few years, while the ruble’s share has risen to 14% from 3%, he said.

Dmitriev did not say whether Russia supported the idea of the common BRICS cryptocurrency. Previously, Russian officials spoke against any cryptocurrencies, warning that they could be used in money laundering or financing terrorism.