Russia to Force Digital Ruble CBDC on Large Companies

Russia is about to impose CBDC obligations on major companies, according to a press leak. Only small retailers will be exempt from the new requirements.

Russia CBDC

Russia is making big strides towards the CBDC regime. According to Interfax sources, large companies will soon be forced to accept digital ruble payments in a declared attempt to improve the quality of financial services. Smaller retailers are exempt from new regulations, at least temporarily. The initiative is a big leap in the continuing effort to digitize payments in Russia.

The requirement will first apply to businesses with revenue of more than 30 million rubles per year. Companies exceeding this limit will be required to accept digital rubles by October 1, 2026. Businesses with revenue of more than 20 million rubles per year will have to comply with the new regime by October 1, 2027. Retailers with revenue of less than 5 million rubles per year are off the hook for the time being.

The CBDC regulations are bundled with the rapid payment system (CBP) amendments incorporated into the law on the protection of consumer rights. They require that larger businesses with annual revenue exceeding 30 million rubles be ready to receive payments via SBP by October 1, 2024. Retailers and service providers with a yearly revenue exceeding 20 million rubles can enjoy a one-year grace period – they’ll have to accept SBP payments by October 1, 2025.

The digital ruble is being introduced as the third form of Russian national currency alongside cash and electronic money. After completing the development stage in December 2021, the platform entered the testing phase.

Since August 15, 2023, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) has been conducting a real-world pilot program with approximately 600 participants from 12 banks. The initiative involves testing various functionalities such as digital wallet management, fund transfers, automatic payments, and more within a closed group of friends and family.

In 2024, the pilot is scheduled to expand to include more banks and tens of thousands of organizations, businesses, and individuals, allowing for the testing of additional features like QR code payments and business-to-business transactions.

The government is even considering the integration of the digital ruble into the budgetary process and using digital rubles for government payments. If all goes smoothly, the digital ruble could be widely available by 2025.