Pilot Launch of Digital Rubles Is Possible in Late 2021

The prospects for the introduction of the digital ruble in the near future are realistic, a pilot launch is possible at the end of 2021, head of the Bank of Russia Elvira Nabiullina said during an online conference following a meeting of the regulator’s board of directors, TASS reported.

“After the discussion of the consultation report takes place, we will collect feedback by the end of the year. Then we will process them. If a decision is made on the feasibility of launching the digital ruble, we will prepare a full-fledged concept. Then, in our opinion, there should be a a pilot stage with a limited number users in order to work out everything, so that we understand how it works. We think that this kind of pilot project is possible somewhere by the end of next year,” she said.

When asked how realistic the launch of the digital ruble in the near future is, Nabiullina said: “It is quite real.” She stressed that the regulator does not set the task of ousting paper money with the introduction of the digital ruble.

“We do not set the task of ousting any kind of money, it will be, in fact, the third form of money, along with cash and non-cash,” she explained.

Citizens and businesses themselves will choose for which cases what type of ruble is more convenient for them to use, she added.

Earlier this month the Vedomosti newspaper reported that the Bank of Russia is exploring the possibility of issuing digital rubles. According to the regulator, digital rubles can become a new form of money along with cash and non-cash. The digital ruble will be available to everyone: citizens, businesses, financial market participants, and the state and could make payments faster and safer. However, experts interviewed by Vedomosti believe that its launch could take several years.