Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the digital ruble bill into law on July 24.
President Vladimir Putin had given his official approval, signing the digital ruble bill into law, and thus, putting Russia on track with its central bank digital currency (CBDC) implementation plan.
Based on an official governmental statement, the digital ruble law is set to come into operation from August 1, 2023, with all rules except for one due for enforcement.
The one rule that was not immediately enforced pertained to amendments to multiple federal laws in Russia, encompassing inheritance and bankruptcy. These adjustments are set to be operational from August 2024.
The legislative development in August allows the Russian central bank the power to launch the first real consumer CBDC pilot. This initial expectation had been for trials to kick off in April, involving collaboration with 13 local banks, with Sberbank, Russia’s biggest bank, among them.
In line with the law that was just endorsed, the central bank of Russia is set to operate the digital ruble infrastructure, taking full responsibility for all assets stored. The digital ruble is designed as a payment and money transfer method, but not for investment purposes.
Bank of Russia’s governor, Elvira Nabiullina, made it clear that Russian citizens will not be forced into using the CBDC. “No one is going to force anyone into the digital ruble… But we really hope that it will be more convenient and cheaper for both people and businesses, and they will start using it. This is a new opportunity,” she stated.
Bank of Russia’s deputy governor, Olga Skorobogatova, suggests that despite these efforts, the Russian government does not expect the mass adoption of the digital ruble before 2025 or even 2027.
This development came in the wake of the Russian State Duma, the lower house of parliament, passing the digital ruble bill in the third and final reading on July 11. The Federation Council gave its approval subsequently on July 19. It is worth noting that the digital ruble bill was first registered in December 2022.
Interestingly, while Russia was accelerating with its CBDC legislation, the introduction of cryptocurrency regulation continued to be deferred, maintaining a consistent history of delays. Despite promises by State Duma in May to introduce four bills concerning crypto mining, taxation, and international settlement crypto, progress seemed to be at a standstill.