The most important thing about the digital ruble: when it will be displayed and where it will be used
In October, the Bank of Russia announced that it would examine the possibility of issuing a digital ruble. Public hearings will be held until 31 December 2020, and the central bank will investigate the issue from an economic and technical point of view. In turn, Elvira Nabiullina, chairwoman of the regulator, said a pilot project to launch the digital ruble could begin by the end of 2021.
A complete concept for the new currency will be prepared by the Bank of Russia after discussion of the consultation report. The digital ruble does not perform the task of squeezing out any type of money but will become their third form, along with cash and non-cash. According to Nabiullina, citizens and businesses can choose which type of ruble is more convenient for them to use. The purpose of the Central Bank is to ensure that one type of national currency is converted into another.
There are no obstacles to paying salaries in digital rubles, Dmitry Zakharov, CEO of Moscow Digital Scool is sure. The answer to the question of what the main use of the new currency will depend on, however, depends on how the project to create it will be implemented.
It is assumed that the advantage of the digital ruble is that it will be possible to pay with it both online and without access to the internet and mobile communications. The central bank is convinced that the development of a new currency will reduce the costs of settlement and increase financial availability, as well as open opportunities for the development of financial services and instruments.
"The undoubted advantage of the new currency is competition with non-cash funds. For example, there is now no alternative to banks acquiring when they accept payments. Now banks will compete with digital currency. After all, if you do not trust banks and do not want cash, this is also a good option for you – the digital currency will be in your electronic wallet and not in the bank account, Zakharov explains.
Elena Gultyaeva, chair of the Legal Committee of the RACIB, added that the digital ruble will be very useful for organizing government payments, as all funds will be open.
The Ministry of Finance is convinced that the digital ruble will reduce the burden on banks, expand cross-border payments and reduce dependence on the dollar and exposure to sanctions. At the same time, the department noted that the appearance of the digital ruble requires the creation of a payment infrastructure and new types of services.
According to estimates by Vladimir Panushkin, head of Socioma UCMT, if the central bank collects the first answers by 31 December 2020 on the possibilities and need to introduce the digital ruble, it will take at least a year to generalize, formulate the problem and develop it. It will take at least another year to actively promote and explain the mechanisms of mutual settlement, as this process will affect all areas of activity of Russian citizens, who are sometimes very distrustful of the digital currency phenomenon.
“But this is just the beginning of a very long journey to reconfigure many software systems, train and retrain staff, develop fundamentally new financial logistics from contracts to reports on their implementation. As a result, in our opinion, the creation and implementation of such a system in Russia, provided there is a lack of internal contradictions and resistance, could take 5 to 10 years, Panushkin predicted.
Dmitry Peskov, special envoy for digital and technological development, called for a similar date. In his opinion, the new currency could appear in Russia in 3-7 years, if the development starts right now. Peskov noted that Russia has no chance of becoming a leader in this area, for this it was necessary to start the process four years ago.
The President's Special Representative suggested that the digital ruble would help solve the problem of poverty, as the new currency makes payments more transparent. Peskov also acknowledges that the receipt of pensions and other payments can take place in a new currency, but this requires access to digital infrastructure.
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