A central bank official announced the rollout of digital ruble payments for peer-to-peer and retail transactions.

The digital ruble, the central bank digital currency (CBDC) of the Bank of Russia, is prepared for its pilot phase, according to Olga Skorobogatova, the bank's deputy governor, said on Friday.

According to Skorobogatova, the initiative would be introduced for retail transactions as well as peer-to-peer transfers between people. She made this announcement to media at a fintech conference in Russia. Per report from Russian news agency TASS, Skorobogatova further stated:

"The pilot will work on real operations for real people, but only for a limited number of them, with the 13 banks that have signaled they're ready."

The CBDC would be tested by the central bank with a limited number of chosen clients, she noted. According to TASS, the Bank of Russia will determine how to extend the programme after the trial.

In October 2020, the Russian central bank released a consultation document proposing various designs for the digital ruble, which was the first time a CBDC project was presented. Later, the bank stated that the initiative can lessen Russia's reliance on the US dollar and lessen the effects of international sanctions imposed on it following its invasion of Ukraine.

The pilot was originally planned to launch in 2021, but it raised some questions in the Russian banking world about whether or not implementing infrastructure for the digital ruble would burden lenders and result in a more homogenous and controlled financial system. Afterwards, the Bank of Russia agreed to alter the idea so as to not harm the established system.

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