Sberbank to participate in Russian Central Bank's Digital Ruble pilot

Monday 16 October 2023 15:23 CET | News

Russia-based Sberbank has confirmed its participation in the digital ruble pilot spearheaded by the Russian Central Bank.


This pilot programme, initially designed to encompass 13 Russian banks, was initiated after Russia's president signed the digital ruble bill into law in July 2023. 

Representatives from Sberbank cited by expressed the institution's dedication to participating in the 'second wave' of banks that will commence testing the digital ruble in 2024. This announcement represents a significant advancement in Russia's efforts to establish its own digital currency according to the same source. 

Sberbank has undergone a transformation over the years, offering various services such as Okko streaming, Citymobil taxi, cloud storage, SberSound, and SberMarket. The launch of these products aims underscore the bank's preparedness to integrate the digital ruble into a broader digital ecosystem. 

In the context of Chinese tech giant Tencent's recent developments, Sberbank could potentially seek to incorporate the digital ruble into its diverse array of digital services in a bid to mirror Tencent's strategy with WeChat's e-CNY payment options. 

Sberbank's CEO has been providing substantial support for the digital ruble initiative. However, the bank's strategic timing in participating in the 'second wave' of CBDC testing could relate to a measured approach as the financial institution is anticipating a more defined regulatory framework or legal obligations before full commitment.


Russia-based Sberbank has confirmed its participation in the digital ruble pilot spearheaded by the Russian Central Bank.


Russia’s CBDC bill

In July 2023, Russia’s Federation Council passed a bill that granted legal authority to the country’s central bank digital currency (CBDC). 

This meant that Russia could potentially start testing the digital ruble at the beginning of August 2023, provided that President Vladimir Putin also signed off on the bill. The bill in question passed through the Federation Council, which is Russia’s higher legislative body after it worked its way through the State Duma.  

The legislation aimed to allow Russians to utilise the CBDC to conduct payments and transfers from digital wallets connected to the central bank's platform or one of the partner banks that it would be working with. It’s worth noting that the CBDC use is planned only for payments or transfers and not lending or deposits. 

Russia announced its digital ruble project in October 2020 and completed a prototype of the CDBC platform in December 2021. In September 2022, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation tested the platform for the digital ruble and even completed a cycle of transfers between individual clients. Digital wallets were also introduced to the digital ruble platform, and clients were able to exchange non-cash rubles in their accounts for digital ones.  

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Keywords: CBDC, partnership, central bank, banks, cryptocurrency
Categories: DeFi & Crypto & Web3
Companies: Sberbank
Countries: Russian Federation
This article is part of category

DeFi & Crypto & Web3


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