On August 3, the Bank of Russia (BoR) unveiled the logo and details surrounding the country’s central bank digital currency (CBDC), the digital ruble. The logo consists of an international ruble symbol in a circle and comes in four basic color combinations.
The BoR has also laid out its fee structure for various operations related to the CBDC. Until the end of 2024, transactions with the digital ruble will be free of charge. Afterward, a fee structure will be imposed, targeting both business-to-business transactions and individuals’ interactions with commercial accounts and civil services.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved the digital ruble’s pilot phase and is expected to go live in collaboration with thirteen local banks on August 1, 2023.
A cautious approach to adoption and regulation of the digital currency
While the CBDC has officially been signed into law, the BoR anticipates a measured approach to the digital ruble’s mass adoption with Governor Elvira Nabiullina and deputy governor Olga Skorobogatova at the helm. The central bank does not foresee widespread usage of the digital currency before 2025 or 2027. The digital ruble will not replace cash; rather, it will operate alongside traditional cash and non-cash rubles, and citizens will not be obligated to use the CBDC.
Despite this advance towards a digital ruble, private digital currencies remain unregulated in Russia. Lawmakers continue to delay the introduction of cryptocurrency legislation. State Duma member Anatoly Aksakov promised to address four bills related to crypto mining, taxation, and international crypto settlement in May 2023.
With Russia’s economy strained by Western sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine, the nation’s efforts towards the digital ruble have accelerated. The introduction of the CBDC symbol and commission structure indicates a significant step in embracing digital currency, offering an alternative form of payment and transfer while maintaining a cautious stance towards adoption. The implementation of the digital ruble also sends a clear message about Russia’s desire to modernize its financial infrastructure, even as the government continues to navigate the complexities of cryptocurrency regulation.