Russian Duma greenlights digital ruble

Pending approval from Vladimir Putin, the law will go into effect in less than a month on Aug. 1, 2023

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According to multiple local media reports and the Russian government itself, the Duma has approved a law that will introduce a digital ruble. 

The Duma shepherded the law through the required three readings to advance it up the chain to the Federation Council and ultimately, President Vladimir Putin, according to the law’s text. 

Should Putin sign off on the law, it will make Russia the largest nation to officially adopt a central bank digital currency, or CBDC.

Discussions of a digital currency issued by the Russian state have been going on for years. Back in November 2021, Reuters reported on a pilot program that was set to debut in 2022. 

Over a year earlier in October 2020, the Bank of Russia, the country’s central bank, published a consultation paper studying the idea of a digital ruble

As put forth in that original consultation paper, the Bank of Russia will operate and organize the digital ruble platform, according to a press release from the Russian government. 

This comes as 93% of central banks have shown interest in exploring a CBDC in some form, according to a 2022 Bank of International Settlements survey. 

Eighty-six banks responded to that survey, but as of June, 130 countries have launched, are exploring or have canceled CBDC programs, according to the Atlantic Council CBDC tracker.

Nigeria is currently one of the largest nations by population to have actually established a CBDC. Despite its launch in October 2021, the eNaira did not receive a warm reception from Nigerians. Protests erupted and businesses faced closures in response to the launch of the eNaira and the ensuing restrictions on physical cash withdrawals.


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