Russia’s “digital rouble” almost a reality after approval by lower house parliament

Russia’s “digital rouble” almost a reality after approval by lower house parliament

By Charles Thuo - min read
  • The bill will now move to the upper chamber of the Russian Federal Assembly.
  • If passed the bill will be signed by the president into law.
  • The Bank of Russia (BoR) will become the principal operator of the digital ruble infrastructure.

The digital ruble, a central bank digital currency (CBDC) project of the Russian central bank, has moved one step closer to completion. The third reading of the digital ruble bill was approved on July 11 by the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian Federation’s Federal Assembly.

The Federation Council, the assembly’s upper chamber, will now consider the proposal before sending it, if approved, to the president’s desk.

Digital ruble legal framework

The legislation establishes the legal definitions of “platform,” “participants,” and “users,” as well as the overarching principles governing the CBDC ecosystem. The legislation was recently amended at the end of June.

As things stand, the Bank of Russia (BoR), Russia’s central bank, will be in charge of running the digital ruble infrastructure. It is also in charge of all the assets that are kept in storage.

According to the BoR, the CBDC’s primary function is to act as a means of payment and transfer. As a result, its users won’t be able to start saving money. Payments and transfers would be free for individual customers and would cost corporate clients 0.3% of the payment amount, as the BoR emphasises.

The deputy chairman of the central bank, Olga Skorobogatova, in a recent interview, announced the mass rollout of the digital ruble for all Russian citizens by 2027. The CBDC will, however, be tested in a pilot program between 2023 and 2024.