Authorities in Russia are gearing up to amend various pieces of legislation to facilitate the issuing and function of the digital ruble. Officials in Moscow believe this version of the national fiat needs to be regulated separately from other digital forms of money such as cryptocurrencies.
Russia Prepares to Trial Digital Ruble, Officials Say CBDC Needs Its Own Regulations
Russian lawmakers are planning to begin work on legal changes necessary to implement the digital ruble concept in January 2022. These efforts will commence alongside the launch of an experiment for the central bank digital currency (CBDC), the chairman of the parliamentary Financial Market Committee, Anatoly Aksakov, told the Russian daily Izvestia.
Aksakov pointed out that at least eight federal laws and five codes — the Civil, Tax, Budgetary, Criminal, and Administrative Code — need to be amended for the digital ruble’s implementation. The new provisions will concern a number of areas such as the powers of Bank of Russia to organize the circulation of the new currency, its legalization as a means of payment, the legal protection for its holders, and so on.
Russia adopted a special law regulating “digital financial assists” which went into force at the beginning of this year. Aksakov is convinced, however, that the members of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, have to distinguish between the concepts of digital currencies, stablecoins, and the digital ruble. He also thinks judicial protection for associated rights must be guaranteed and crypto mining regulated. The deputy stated:
Conventional cryptocurrencies, stablecoins and the state digital currency must have their own definitions which must be reflected in the legislation.
Bank of Russia (CBR), the country’s central bank, intends to begin testing the platform for the digital ruble in January. According to the CBDC concept published this spring, the prototype has to be ready by the end of the year.
The media report reveals that the trial will be carried out in several stages. During the first stage, the CBR will issue the digital currency. Later, the number of participants in the pilot project will be increased from the current 12 banks. Representatives of the monetary authority further commented:
Based on the results of this piloting, a roadmap for the introduction of the digital ruble will be developed as well as the necessary amendments to the legislation.
According to the publication, the Russian Ministry of Economic Development has also noted that the introduction of the digital ruble would require separate legislative regulation. “At the very least, it will be necessary to say that it will be possible to pay with a digital ruble unlike conventional digital currencies,” according to Alexey Minaev, deputy director of the Digital Economy Development Department.
Speaking to Izvestia, Minaev described the introduction of national digital currencies as a worldwide trend. The government official also emphasized that this form of money has practically nothing to do with decentralized cryptocurrencies.
Central banks around the world have been exploring the possible issuance of CBDCs in response to the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies and the declining use of cash. Besides Bank of Russia, these include the European Central Bank and the U.S. Federal Reserve. The People’s Bank of China has arguably the most advanced project, with domestic trials already underway and plans to test the digital yuan in cross-border transactions.
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