Russian Central Bank Testing Stablecoin Under Sandbox, Exploring CBDC

The bank is studying whether stablecoins can be used as a mode of payment.

The Bank of Russia has initiated testing of stablecoins pegged to real estate under its regulatory sandbox program.

The prospect was revealed by the central bank chairperson Elvira Nabiullina while speaking with the local news outlet Interfax.

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Under the sandbox, the companies can test their products and services in a limited environment without risking breaking financial laws as it is overseen by the regulator.

She also explained that the bank is now studying the nature of the digital currencies – if they can function as a mode of payment or become “money surrogate.”

“We test stablecoins in our regulatory ‘sandbox.’ Companies that want to issue tokens secured by some real assets. We in the ‘sandbox’ look at how they can work, but we do not assume that they will function as a means of payment and become money surrogate,” Nabiullina said.

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Another country looking into CBDC

Besides, the Russian central bank is also exploring the option for introducing a central bank digital currency, the chairperson confirmed.

“Now such an opportunity is being actively discussed by many countries, we are also at the stage of studying this topic,” she said. “First of all, we need to understand what will be the advantages for our citizens, for business, for example, compared with the option when we develop fast payment systems, expand them application not only for settlements between individuals, but also between legal entities.”

However, she has also pointed out the challenges of such initiatives of central banks on the stability of the financial system.

“If, for example, individuals are allowed to keep money in accounts with the Central Bank, this could significantly change the passive base of commercial banks. In some not very calm times, the flight of deposits and overflow of funds may begin,” Nabiullina added.

Meanwhile, the South Korean central bank recently clarified that it has no plans to introduce a digital currency, despite the rumors.

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