Settlements With China-Russia Plans Next Step For Digital Ruble

Russia intends to use its digital ruble, to be introduced early next year, for payments with its key ally, China. Authorities in Moscow hope other nations will be willing to adopt the Russian digital currency in trade, which will allow the country to circumvent sanctions imposed over the Ukraine war.

The Central Bank of Russia is gearing up to launch settlements with the digital ruble, the new incarnation of the Russian fiat currency that’s now being tested, as early as 2023. According to a statement by a prominent member of the lower house of Russian parliament, the sanctioned nation wants to use it in payments with China, which has become Russia’s main trading partner.

Limited access to the global financial system due to financial restrictions introduced in response to its military invasion of Ukraine is forcing Russia to seek alternative means for foreign trade transactions. Alongside cryptocurrencies, the digital ruble is one of the options Moscow is considering in its efforts to bypass the sanctions.

“The topic of digital financial assets, the digital ruble and cryptocurrencies is currently intensifying in the society, as Western countries are imposing sanctions and creating problems for bank transfers, including in international settlements,” the head of the Financial Market Committee at the State Duma, Anatoly Aksakov, recently told the Parlamentskaya Gazeta newspaper.

The high-ranking lawmaker elaborated that the digital direction is key because financial flows can circumvent systems controlled by unfriendly nations. He added the next step for the central bank digital currency (CBDC) issued by the Bank of Russia would be to introduce it in mutual settlements with China. Also quoted by Reuters, Aksakov emphasized:

If we launch this, then other countries will begin to actively use it going forward, and America’s control over the global financial system will effectively end.

With the loss of markets in the West, including for energy exports, the importance of cooperation with China has increased significantly for Russia. Trade between the two countries has expanded and Russian companies have started issuing debt in Chinese yuan. Beijing is currently conducting domestic trials of its digital version, the e-CNY, and plans to use it in cross-border settlements, too.

Russia is preparing to adopt comprehensive regulations for its crypto market in the coming months, including a new bill “On Digital Currency” that will expand the legal framework established last year by the law “on Digital Financial Assets.” Russian regulators are already developing a mechanism for international crypto payments and the respective draft provisions have been already agreed upon by the central bank and the finance ministry.

By: Lubomir Tassev

Lubomir Tassev is a journalist from tech-savvy Eastern Europe who likes Hitchens’s quote: “Being a writer is what I am, rather than what I do.” Besides crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.

Source: Settlements With China — Russia Plans Next Step for Digital Ruble – Finance Bitcoin News

Critics by cbdctracker

The Bank of Russia has announced plans to connect all Russian banks to the digital ruble in 2024, as it fast-tracks plans to circumvent sanctions. Cross-border integration with the digital yuan and the central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) of other “friendly” countries” will remove the need for Swift, a central bank official said. As well as “gradually connecting all credit organisations”, the Bank of Russia will increase the number of “payment options and transactions using smart

The Central Bank of Russia emphasized that the pilot project aims to better understand the regulatory, legal, and technical aspects of CBDCs, and plans to launch an official digital ruble within a few years. Russia’s central bank’s latest monetary policy said the country plans to connect the digital ruble platform to all banks and credit institutions by 2024.

In March 2024, a new round of elections will be held on whether the current Russian President Vladimir Putin will be re-elected. By then, the digital ruble is expected to have completed customer-to-customer transaction trials and customer-to-business and business-to-customer settlements.

To facilitate the rollout of the digital ruble, the Bank of Russia will also conduct a beta test of the digital ruble-based smart contract with a limited number of participants in 2023. At the same time, it is expected that in 2025, the offline mode of the digital ruble will be completed. The Bank of Russia noted that the Russian economy is increasingly digitized, thus requiring an advanced payment system based on a government-backed digital currency.

VTB Factoring, a subsidiary of Russia’s state-owned bank, reported the first major deal with digital finance assets. As part of the deal, the bank subsidiary acquired a tokenized debt pool of the engineering company Metrowagonmash, issued via the fintech platform Lighthouse. On Wednesday, June 29, VTB reported the deal on its webpage, claiming it to be the first issuance and placement of digital financial assets secured by cash in the Russian Federation. In the announcement, the bank compares it with the issue of short-term commercial bonds.

n June 2022, the largest Russian bank Sber announced its first operation with the digital financial assets (DFA) to take place in mid-July, after finally obtaining a license from the country’s central bank. While current legislation on the DFA was put in force in 2020, the head of the Financial Markets Committee of the Russian parliament’s lower chamber introduced a bill that would prohibit the use of DFA as a “monetary surrogate” in June 2022.

In February 2022, VTB conducted the first successful testing of the operation with “digital rubles,” a central bank digital currency (CBDC) project of the Bank of Russia. Later, the bank announced its first purchase of DFAs in exchange for the digital ruble. At press time, there is no information on whether the aforementioned deal was made via CBDC. 

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