Russia is getting ready to launch a digital ruble - the Bank of Russia plans to roll out a digital ruble pilot project which will be available for general use once completed, Russia's Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina said.
"We are ready to start the digital ruble pilot project, which means conducting real transactions with real money, but initially for use with a limited sum of money as with the number of clients. Once the pilot project has been completed, we will be able to offer the digital ruble to everyone," she noted.
A digital ruble is an additional form of the Russian national currency that will be issued digitally by the Bank of Russia. A digital ruble will have combined characteristics of both cash and non-cash rubles. Same as cash, it will be possible to use a digital ruble offline, i.e. without an access to the internet. On the other hand, its digital form allows using a digital ruble for online payments, just like cashless means of payment.
Same as cash and non-cash rubles, it will be possible to use digital rubles to pay for goods and services, make payments to organisations and the state, make funds transfers, pay for transactions with financial instruments and digital financial assets.
Funds in digital ruble accounts will be replenished from a bank account or a bank card as well as with cash. All forms of rubles (cash, non-cash, digital) will be transferable into each other.
For individuals, operations with a digital ruble may be similar to using electronic wallets, payment or mobile apps. Transactions involving a digital ruble may be made both online and offline. For offline operations, when a network connection is unavailable, it will be possible to reserve a certain amount in digital rubles in one’s electronic wallet, just like these days people take cash with them when they visit places where bank cards may be useless. When a connection is present, operations will be performed similar to cashless payments.