March 8, 2021

Central Bank discussed with bankers the digital ruble

At the meeting with the first deputy chairman of the Central Bank Olga Skorobogatova, the heads of banks delivered presentations in which listed the advantages and disadvantages of introducing the digital ruble.

First Deputy Chairman of the Bank of Russia Olga Skorobogatovadiscussed with representatives of the largest commercial banks the prospects for the introduction of the digital ruble. The meeting, which took place on November 26 at the Fintech association, was attended by representatives of Sberbank, VTB, Rosbank, Moscow Credit Bank (MCB), Sovcombank, Russian Standard Bank, PSB and others, as well as the CEO of the QIWI payment system Boris Kim. The participants of the meeting made reports in which they expressed their opinions on the introduction of the digital ruble, and also listed its advantages and disadvantages.

Investor, entrepreneur, Ethereum advisorFoundation, member of the Supervisory Board of the Russian Association of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Vladislav Martynov stressed that the models for launching the digital ruble, reflected in the report, raise serious doubts. The Bank of Russia proposes that digital wallets be opened and located in the Central Bank, and settlements on them are carried out on the Central Bank platform. In fact, a monopolist appears, and the role of commercial banks is significantly reduced, and they will practically not be involved in the process, Martynov emphasized.

“In the models of the Central Bank of Russia, the vectormovement towards the monopoly of the Central Bank, which will negatively affect the country's financial market. In addition, in the model of the Central Bank of Russia, when citizens convert their own funds into a digital ruble, there will be a shortage of liquidity in commercial banks, that is, an outflow of customer funds from commercial banks and, as a result, an increase in interest rates on deposits, an increase in the cost of funding and a decrease in the creditworthiness of banks, a slowdown in economic growth and a negative impact on the country's economy, ”the investor warned.

According to him, the unique properties of the digital ruble should be introduced into the existing non-cash payments of customers of commercial banks, which is not provided in the current models of the Central Bank.Martynov noted that banks can also offer tools to track targeted use and transparency of cash flows.

Chairman of the Board of the Bank "Russian Standard"During his speech at the meeting, Alexander Samokhvalov stressed that the Bank of Russia will play a key role in the circulation of the new digital currency, as it will become the issuer of the digital ruble and will open wallets. Banks, after the Central Bank, will play a "significant role" in the circulation of the new currency.

“And here we support a model in which the service component can be implemented in banks, since now they have sufficient infrastructure to maintain it,” noted Samokhvalov.

Among the biggest concerns of banks related tothe introduction of the digital ruble, he called the outflow of liquidity from the banking sector. To avoid this, the banker suggested keeping the balance of the wallet on the bank's balance sheet; this will also help keep customers able to use the familiar interface.

Head of the Directorate for Development of Retail ande-business MKB Alexey Okhorzin called the idea of ​​introducing the digital ruble a real requirement of the time. However, the role of banks in the circulation of the new currency and the advantages for bank customers depend on the implementation.

"Will the digital ruble become an analogue of cash?or it will be a variant of non-cash payments, how easy, convenient and profitable it will be for the end consumer to make settlements in digital rubles, ”asked Okhorzin.

The digital ruble has many advantages, firstturn for customers: cheaper transactions, increased convenience, development of smart contracts as an innovative tool, which will help to increase the transparency of the relationship between consumers and suppliers, added Olga Makhova, Rosbank Innovation Director. At the same time, she recalled that the security issues of this type of currency are now "very acute".

Boris Kim, CEO of QIWI Group, noted that they fully support the efforts of the Bank of Russia to further digitalize the financial sector. Kim named a number of promising areas for using the currency:

“First, the digital ruble can acquirespecial importance as a reliable way of storing money - in this case, the key will be to ensure the security of the new form of money. Secondly, the digital ruble can be used for settlements with state and municipal authorities and enterprises, as well as for state payments to the population and enterprises. "

By its nature, the digital ruble can become the basis of "smart settlements" if it is integrated with public and private information systems, Kim is sure.

He added that it seems promisingthe use of the digital ruble by legal entities and individual entrepreneurs for off-line settlements without limits used for cash settlements, which may become its advantage over existing forms of settlements.

“For the successful functioning of the digital rublethe following aspects of its implementation should be taken into account: the possibility of remote identification both by existing means - through State services, and with the help of the latest developments - video identification; Convenience of conversion (simplicity, speed of transferring a digital ruble into cash and funds and cash into a digital ruble, high availability of points for making such a transfer), as well as preserving access of credit institutions to information about transactions made by clients / to clients, ”recommended CEO of QIWI Group.

The Central Bank reported that they are currently conductinga series of meetings with financial market participants to discuss issues raised in the digital ruble advisory report, which was presented in mid-December. Such discussions have already taken place with representatives of payment systems, members of the Fintech Association and the payment market, as well as macroeconomic analysts.

In the near future, similar meetings will take place atplatforms of the AC Forum and the Association of Russian Banks, as well as the discussion of the issue in the State Duma will be initiated. The Central Bank stressed that the results of the discussion of the report will be summed up in the first quarter of 2021.

Previously at an international rating agencyMoody’s said that the issue of the digital ruble would cause an outflow of client funds from bank accounts. This could lead to higher interest rates on bank deposits to retain customers and, ultimately, lead to an increase in the cost of funding, which will negatively affect the creditworthiness of banks, analysts said.

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