Testing of the national digital currency from the Central Bank of the Russian Federation is in full swing. However, its functionality is still not obvious to the average consumer. In a commentary for ForkLog, participants at the sixth meeting of the Digital Principle Digital Lawyers Club discussed the technology and assessed its prospects.
The topic of the digital ruble is no longer theoretical, but extremely pragmatic, noted Maxim Proksh, Chairman of the Board of the IPChain Association.
According to Andrei Borisenko, Deputy Director of the Legal Department of the Bank of Russia, the goal of the digital ruble is to create a convenient payment system, free for individuals and with low fees for legal entities.
“Sometimes you hear about a third form of money and a wallet. But from the point of view of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation, these are non-cash rubles in their legal status. This is directly written in the amendments to the legislation that we prepared and adopted,” he clarified.
Borisenko also explained that the technology does not have the concept of a “wallet”, there is only an account. A Central Bank employee compared the functionality of the digital ruble with monetary obligations, but not from a commercial organization, but from the Bank of Russia.
The issuance of the asset itself will not lead to inflation, since it is carried out when the user transfers part of the money from his account to the CBDC, Borisenko added. This function will be implemented in test bank applications.
“Financial institutions will not suffer from the introduction of the digital ruble, because digital rubles do not accrue interest on deposits, they do not issue loans, and you cannot receive bonus points for transactions with them. So people simply have no incentive to store large amounts of money in this form,” the official explained.
Borisenko also recalled the limits on transactions with national digital currency and the possibilities of its marking, which increases the transparency of government operations.
A representative of the Central Bank believes that the undeniable advantage of the digital ruble is greater reliability compared to conventional non-cash payments. The Bank of Russia has already assumed security obligations, so there is no need to insure funds deposited in digital ruble accounts.
Technologically, the Russian CBDC allows you to create gateways for cross-border transfers. However, whether citizens will be able to take advantage of this opportunity is rather a political question, Borisenko added.
“I have serious doubts that the digital ruble will take root in domestic circulation. But the prospect of international payments can be very interesting,” says Digital IP researcher and professor at the HSE Faculty of Law Anton Ivanov.
He also noted that the courts will still be dealing with the “controversial phenomenon of digital fiat” for several years. Moreover, if a credit function is not tied to the digital ruble, “no one will need it for nothing,” Ivanov concluded.
Professor of the Department of Financial Law at Moscow State Law Academy Tatyana Rozhdestvenskaya said that from the point of view of legal doctrine, non-cash money has always been understood as the obligations of commercial banks.
Rozhdestvenskaya had questions regarding the procedure for resolving disputes between CBDC holders and the Central Bank.
“The Bank of Russia does not work directly with either individuals or legal entities. And, as far as I know, no additional structures or personnel have been provided for this yet,” she clarified.
According to the head of the “Legal Development” direction of the Center for Strategic Research, Maxim Bashkatov, the responsibilities of the operator of the digital ruble platform are described in general phrases such as “safety” and “stability.” He also did not fully understand whether commercial banks act as agents, intermediaries or commission agents of the Central Bank, and how responsibility is delineated between them.
“For now, the digital ruble is a mulatto who is not accepted into the polite society of normal banking transactions with a fireplace, but who nevertheless really wants to prove to his parents that he has the right to exist,” the expert concluded.
Let us remind you that the law on national cryptocurrency came into force on August 1. Citizens of the Russian Federation will have the opportunity to massively use the new means of payment in 2025–2027.
In September, the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation clarified the procedure for accounting for transactions with the digital ruble.
Financial institutions later calculated the costs of implementing the technology. Rosbank estimated its expenses for two years at 150 million rubles.
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