Commercial banks should be the gatekeepers of the digital ruble: This was the message from a Russian crypto and blockchain industry group chief – as the nation’s Central Bank gears up to launch a pilot for its forthcoming digital currency.
Russia is just one of the many nations now engaged in a fast-paced race to issue a central bank digital currency (CBDC). After years of humming and hawing about a so-called “cryptoruble,” the Central Bank has now committed to launching a pilot next year, almost certainly to be followed by a swift, full national rollout.
But in an interview with news agency Tass, Vladislav Martynov, the Vice President of the Russian Association of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain (RACIB), stated, the Central Bank’s framework for the digital ruble should see “the maximum amount of functionality” handed over to “existing players – namely, commercial banks.”
Martynov suggested that it should be commercial banks, rather than the Central Bank itself, that should be responsible for maintaining and hosting citizens’ digital ruble wallets.
“Specifically, commercial banks should be responsible for opening and maintaining the digital wallets of their clients. If not, there is a high risk of cash outflow from commercial banks to the Central Bank accounts. That would reduce banks’ ability to lend to businesses. It would deprive them of their main [sources of income]. Small and medium-sized businesses would suffer without the opportunity to receive loans and the financing that helps them develop.”
And Martynov added that crypto and blockchain-powered advances could well couple with Central Bank-issued digital currency plans to help commercial banks explore new business avenues.
He claimed that should commercial banks be granted “the ability to tokenize, that is, to create digital financial assets for their credit-related activities” – and use tokens “for their intended purpose” and particularly “in smart contracts.”
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