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Several regions in Russia are optimistic that the country’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), known as the digital ruble, has the potential to combat corruption by addressing the “shadow economy.”

The economy-centric publication, Dela, which primarily focuses on the Krasnoyarsk Krai region, reported that officials from Siberia are eager to leverage the digital currency for their transactions.

Yegor Vasiliev, who chairs the Committee on Economics and Tax Policy of the Krasnoyarsk Krai Legislative Assembly, shared that integrating the digital ruble would have a pronounced impact on the regional economy.

He emphasized:

“Each transaction with the digital ruble is transparent, easy to understand, and immutably recorded, once and for all. No illegal transactions with the digital ruble can be carried out secretly.”

Vasiliev pointed out that the inherent transparency of the digital ruble can be a robust tool against corruption, which has persistently plagued local Russian governmental activities.

He elaborated:

“[With the CBDC], corruption risks, and the risks of the gray, shadow economy are significantly reduced. Therefore, in the future, part of [our] budgetary operations will be carried out exclusively using the digital ruble.”

He further highlighted the digital ruble’s traceability, noting that it allows tracking of the token’s journey “from its issuance day” and “across owners.”

On another front, in the peninsular region of Kamchatka in the Russian Far East, media source Kamchatinfo cited Olga Khlabystina, the Central Bank’s Kamchatka Branch’s leader in Payment Systems and Settlements. Khlabystina remarked that future provisions would allow the digital ruble’s use even in internet-free zones using specific offline wallets. This adaptation would particularly benefit Kamchatka’s isolated and hard-to-reach residents.

Quickening Pace of Russia’s CBDC Development

Russia’s CBDC journey took a significant step forward with its pilot launch this week. Prominent banks, including VTB, Qiwi, and Alfa, confirmed that as of August 16, their staff had executed real-world transactions with the digital ruble.

The momentum in Moscow seems geared towards an expedited rollout of its digital currency. Notably, traditional allies like Kazakhstan and Belarus have signaled intentions to fast-track their respective digital currencies.

With the Russian Central Bank discussing the potential for cross-border transactions with its CBDC, industry insiders speculate that this digital fiat could assist Russian traders in navigating around sanctions.