The Bank of Russia has prepared a presentation on the Digital Ruble Project. It describes the digital ruble platform, the stages of implementation that have already been completed. The next stages of the digital ruble implementation have been planned, such as testing of C2B (customer-to-business) transactions by pilot banks, preparation of a legal (at the end of the year, a bill on the digital ruble was even introduced before the Duma) and a regulatory framework for transactions with the same, as well as the launch of a pilot project on payments with real digital rubles for a limited number of customers.
But, more importantly, if the prospect of cross-border transactions with central banks digital currencies (CBDC) used to be discussed mainly in general terms, then the new presentation of the Central Bank contain specifics.
The development of the models of the cross-border cooperation is planned for the first quarter of this year, and even two variants of possible models have been presented.
The first option assumes that the countries enter into separate bilateral agreements to integrate digital currency platforms with each other. In this case, the platforms of each country ensure the conversion and transfer of formats between the countries according to agreed rules and standards. The second option is to connect the country to the single integration platform, which, based on developed common protocols and standards, allows to ensure payments between digital currency platforms of different countries connected to the same.
According to Viktor Dostov, the Head of the Association of Electronic Money and Money Transfer Market Participants (AED), the first approach is similar to the correspondent relationship "everyone with everyone". "Interaction protocols are concluded between pairs of countries, allowing the transfer of value from one CBDC to another, it can be a conversion protocol; or currencies begin to live in parallel on each of the platforms," he explains.
In the latter case, a hub is created, the platforms are connected in a star, as within a payment system, and a connection protocol is sufficient, he points out, noting that this makes it possible to convert or transparently transfer the CBDC from one platform to another.
According to Roman Prokhorov, the Chairman of the Board of Financial Innovations Association (AFI), the first scheme of the cross-border cooperation for payments in the CBDC provides for a simpler option from the point of view of implementation, but less promising option of bilateral interaction between countries. The second scheme is the more "advanced" option, which actually means the establishment of a supranational payment system.
"It is obvious that the implementation of cross-border settlements using the CBDC will depend not so much on the readiness of the Russian party, here our jurisdiction is constantly running second to the PRC in promoting the CBDC project, but on the readiness of our partners," the head of the AFI believes.
Therefore, in his opinion, it is obvious that at first a two-way interaction scheme will be implemented. He considers China to be the most likely partner at this stage, taking into account its technological and political readiness. "Other schemes for the implementation of cross-border settlements based on the CBDC, including according to the supranational payment system pattern, will depend on the dynamics of national CBDC projects in friendly jurisdictions," he says.
At the same time, the market participants point out that that the cross-border transactions using CBDC are still a long way off. Alexey Voilukov, Vice President of the Association of Banks of Russia, points out that the main problem is not a technical implementation problem, but a political one. According to him, the introduction of the digital ruble will not change or improve the situation in any way, so in the foreseeable future the pilot transactions can only begin with very close friendly countries if they, like us, are technically ready by that time.