The Central Bank of Russia is testing a number of digital currency pilots toward the development of a national digital currency.
Speaking at the 2017 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum today, deputy chairwoman of Russia’s central bank Olga Skorobogatova has, in a significant revelation, stated that the regulator is working on a national digital currency.
According to a report by TASS, Russia’s largest news agency, Skorobogatova sees national cryptocurrencies as the future and claimed that it’s merely a matter of time before countries around the world adopt national digital currencies.
Regulators of all countries agree that it’s time to develop national cryptocurrencies, this is the future. Every country will decide on specific time frames. After our pilot projects, we will understand what system we could sue in our case for our national currency.
Based on a Hybrid Blockchain?
As CCN reported in April 2016, Skorobogatova’s first public comments on a national digital currency hinted at a ‘hybrid network’ of both public and private blockchain protocols to create a unified distributed ledger leading to a national digital currency.
While details of the digital currency pilots are currently scarce, it is notable that the Bank of Russia has already developed and tested an Ethereum-based interbank blockchain prototype in 2016. Titled ‘MasterChain’, the blockchain prototype saw Russia’s largest banks participate in the financial messaging pilot, drawing speculation of a SWIFT-like financial messaging platform for Russia’s banks, operated by the central bank.
Skorobogatova has notably spearheaded the effort to establish a blockchain working group backed by the central bank in February 2016, to research and explore applications of the decentralized technology, ultimately leading to ‘MasterChain’.
Speaking at the same event today, Herman Gref – the CEO of Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, called for the legalization of cryptocurrencies. The banking executive has previously been critical of Moscow’s effort, through its Finance Ministry, to ban bitcoin in the past.
Gref is a bitcoiner himself and has publicly spoken about being an investor in bitcoin.
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