VTB has become the first Russian bank to add the digital ruble to its mobile application. The integration is currently being tested with accounts set up for legal entities. Select customers will be granted access in the coming months and will be able to join the trials.
VTB’s Mobile App to Support Digital Ruble Transfers and Payments
VTB Bank has led the way among financial institutions in Russia to develop a prototype feature allowing users of its banking app to open accounts and make transfers with the digital version of the national fiat currency.
Some clients will be allowed to perform test transactions with the digital ruble in 2023, the bank’s press service announced. Quoted by RBC Crypto, Deputy Chairman of VTB’s Executive Board Vadim Kulik explained:
During Finopolis-2022, a forum for innovative financial technologies, the bank also demonstrated a feature for buying digital financial assets, or coins and tokens with an issuer under current Russian law, with digital rubles. It will become available to customers next year, too.
The bank is also preparing to launch an exchange function which will allow conversion between digital rubles and regular electronic money by 2024.
Bank of Russia presented the concept for its central bank digital currency (CBDC) in October 2020 and finalized its prototype platform in December 2021. The pilot phase of the project was initiated in January of this year.
In May, the monetary authority announced it plans to start testing the digital ruble in real transactions between customers in April 2023. In June, amid sanctions imposed over Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, the regulator said it’s accelerating the schedule for the project. It aims for a full launch in 2024.
Around a dozen commercial banks and other financial institutions have joined the trials. After cash and bank money, the digital ruble will be the third form of the Russian currency. It’s expected to have the properties of both cash and non-cash rubles in order to facilitate both online and offline payments.