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19 April 2023, 13:09

Introduction of digital ruble contemplated in Belarus

MINSK, 19 April (BelTA) – After a joint session of the House of Representatives and the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus Chairman of the Board of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus (NBRB) Pavel Kallaur talked to reporters. Among other things he was asked whether a digital ruble will be introduced in Belarus, BelTA has learned.

Pavel Kallaur said: “Right now virtually all the central banks pay attention to a new phenomenon – digital currency. According to our information, about 100 central banks are already studying the possibilities, have prepared concepts or have already launched pilot projects. It is truly a new phenomenon brought about by the advance of modern technologies.”

In his words, the digital currency of central banks is viewed as some new form of money. “There is cash. Cashless payments are also very popular. A digital currency is closer to cashless money but it can also perform certain cash functions. I mean it can be used not only online but also offline,” Pavel Kallaur explained.

The central bank has worked out and approved a concept concerning the Belarusian digital ruble. “We are working on launching a demo version, a platform to try it. We also look at the experience of Russia's Central Bank in order to learn from someone else's mistakes and avoid making our own. By the end of the year we should decide on the advisability of introducing a digital ruble in our country after arranging discussions and consultations. The decision will be made at the level of the head of state,” the official said.

In his words, since it is a new form of money, its introduction will require amendments to the legislation – the Civil Code, the Banking Code, the Tax Code, and budget laws. “If a favorable decision is made, it will be necessary to launch a pilot project to make sure the approaches work. An experiment with a limited number of participants – banks and natural persons,” the head of Belarus' central bank noted.

Pavel Kallaur went on saying: “So we are not lagging behind modern trends. At the same time we work calmly and are in no rush. As a matter of principle, for us these technologies will be most interesting for transboundary payments. If other countries introduce digital currencies, then we should be ready to connect our systems so that our citizens and legal persons could get high-quality services.”

In his words, digital currencies are not used for transboundary payments now, countries are staging experiments, the linking of payment systems is being practiced.

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