According to reports, Russia is choosing to begin the digital ruble pilot project only once the regulatory foundations had been adopted, most likely in early May.

The country's CBDC would not open in April 2023 as previously promised but would be postponed until the end of the month or the beginning of May, according to a report from the Russian news agency TASS on March 28, 2023. Despite the delayed debut, Russian banks were still open to continuing their testing of digital ruble transactions and operations.

Anatoly Aksakov, the Chairman of the State Duma Committee on the Financial Market, had ordered the delay and claimed that the legal foundation for the introduction of the ruble was not yet ready. It was emphasized that the measure had previously only passed the first reading in the Russian Parliament Duma, at the time the launch of the CBDC was announced.

Alfa Bank, one of the biggest private banks in Russia, announced that it is prepared to conduct the first transaction in accordance with the intentions of the authorities. Soyuz Bank, another top bank, has disclosed that it is prepared to begin using actual consumers to test the CBDC.

According to Vitaly Kopysov, Sinara Bank's head of innovations, smart contracts should "make the deals transparent," he continued:

"The use of smart contracts should reduce the operational load of banks and make the deals transparent, which not only will reduce the chances of the misuse of government and banks’ funds, but ultimately simplify the control over the existing contracts."

The Central Bank of Russia declared that there would now be 13 banks instead of 15 participating in the pilot. This indicates that only 13 banks have expressed a desire to take part in the event and that they would proceed with a small number of customers.

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