Digital ruble trial goes live as Bank of Russia insists on Bitcoin ban

Amid more reports on the Bank of Russia rejecting the finance ministry’s proposal of cryptocurrency regulation, the central bank has kicked off trials of its own digital currency.

The Russian central bank has officially launched the digital ruble trial, successfully completing the first central bank digital currency (CBDC) transfers among citizens, the Bank of Russia announced Tuesday. The launch aligns with the bank’s plans to debut the first digital ruble transactions in early 2022.

Three banks out of 12 financial institutions in the digital ruble pilot group have already integrated the CBDC platform, with two of them completing a “full cycle of digital ruble transfers between clients using mobile banking applications,” the bank said.

The first stage of testing will see users open wallets on the digital ruble platform via a mobile application, as well as convert non-cash fiat into CBDC and transact using the latter tokens.

At the second stage, the bank plans to test digital ruble as payment for goods and services as well as other potential implementations related to smart contracts and interaction with the Federal Treasury. In the future, the central bank also plans to introduce digital ruble payments in offline mode and to provide the opportunity of conducting transactions by non-resident customers, the announcement notes.

Olga Skorobogatova, Bank of Russia’s first deputy governor, stated that the digital ruble is a “new opportunity for citizens, businesses and the state,” adding that such transactions will be free and available in any region of the country.

The Bank of Russia also pointed out that the digital ruble will be unique as it will be accessible via a “mobile application of any bank that serves the client.”

The Bank of Russia’s announcement comes amid local reports claiming that the Bank of Russia has officially opposed the finance ministry’s crypto-friendly regulation concept introduced on Feb. 8.

Related: Russian Ministry wants to legalize Bitcoin mining in specific areas

In a press conference on Feb 11, Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina declared that the authority will continue fighting against the adoption of crypto in Russia by all means, stating:

“We will spare no effort to convince the government and go into more detail about our arguments because we see significant risks. I’m counting on common sense here.”

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