Launching of Testing For Russian & Iranian CBDCs Anticipated Soon

The Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation are anticipating to launch testing of their respective CBDCs. CBDC is a project which involves the issuance of centralized digital currency which is ultimately issued by a country’s central bank. In the case of Iran, its CBDC will be called “Digital Rial” which will be issued by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI). For Russia, it would be the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) issuing the Russian CBDC i.e. “Digital Ruble”.

It has been confirmed by CBR that Russia has successfully developed Digital Ruble which will very soon be put for testing. For the time being, Russian CBDC will be in the form of a ‘prototype’ whose testing is likely to commence in December this year. More than 12 Russian commercial/private banks have been asked by CBR to take part in the pilot testing. Meanwhile, CBR has confirmed that by the time of initiation of testing, more participants will be added to the testing. Similarly, the nature of the transactions will be improved to conduct rigorous testing of Digital Ruble, suggested CBR.

Local media has further confirmed that all of the invited banks for testing purposes have agreed to participate. Amongst these banks, one of the most prominent banks is “Promsvyazbank”. The bank is currently working on the C2C process of payments. VTK, which is another bank invited to host testing, too has confirmed that it has already developed the infrastructure required for testing.

Meanwhile, a top official from the CBI has revealed that CBI wishes to initiate pilot testing of its Digital Rial. Iran had in fact initiated the project in 2018 but it was delayed for various reasons. The official, according to Iranian media, was CBI’s deputy governor, Mehran Moharamian. He stated that for CBI, CBDC has multifarious benefits but, above all, Digital Rial is the need of the hour. He suggested that CBI is certain that with the advent of CBDC various inconsistencies and discrepancies in the decentralized space will be removed.

However, as regards the initiation of the pilot testing, CBI’s deputy governor did not mention any specific details. It is expected that likewise Russian Federation, Iran too will be launching pilot testing of its CBDC in 2022.

Iran had earlier spoken of using CBDCs for international trades and payment settlements. At that time in December 2021, Iran had further revealed that it has identified targeted countries for acceptance of CBDCs. Russia was at the top of that list of countries that were identified as targeted markets for Iran. It wouldn’t be a coincidence if Iran would be launching the testing simultaneously with Russia. In the alternative, it is highly possible that Iran would want to commence testing once Russia engages in testing its Digital Ruble.

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