Russia’s Central Bank Exploring Use of Crypto, CBDCs with BRICS Allies

The Governor of Russia’s Central Bank says she is speaking to BRICS member states about using “digital currencies” to power international trade.

Per RIA Novosti and 1Prime, the bank’s long-serving Governor Elvira Nabiullina said the Central Bank was “currently holding consultations with friendly countries, including BRICS members, on cross-border payments through digital currencies.”

Nabiullina remarked that “when creating the digital ruble platform,” the Central Bank had “made explicit the possibility of [the token’s] integration with similar foreign platforms.”

A key ally of President Vladimir Putin, Nabiullina has previously been bitterly opposed to all forms of crypto adoption.

She has repeatedly called for a China-style ban on crypto in Russia, including a block on crypto mining.

In recent times, however, her stance has changed. And in her most recent interview, Nabiullina made arguably her most pro-crypto comments yet. She said:

“Our position on cryptocurrencies is well known. We are against their use in payments within the country. At the same time, we support their use in foreign trade.”

The Governor remarked that a bill that would green-light the use of crypto in international payments was “being discussed in the State Duma.”

Nabiullina remarked that “many countries are at different stages of developing” their CBDCs.

And the Governor expressed optimism about the digital ruble’s progress. She said more commercial banks and private sector players were interested in joining the pilot. Nabiullina said:

“Everything is going absolutely according to plan. And it is very important that we see growing interest from financial institutions. They want to take part in the pilot.”

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The Presidents of Brazil, China, South Africa, and India, with the Russian Foreign Minister at last year’s BRICS summit in Johannesburg. (Source: GCIS [CC BY-ND 2.0])

BRICS and ‘Russia-friendly States’ Turn to CBDCs & Crypto?
BRICS members have previously discussed the idea of launching a “digital currency” for use in international trade.

Some BRICS states, including Russia, have been using the Chinese yuan and the Emirati dirham as a payment tool in place of the USD.

But Moscow thinks solutions involving interoperable digital fiats will be preferable as it de-dollarizes.

Earlier this month, a prominent Russian economist claimed that Western sanctions on his country would undermine the dollar and boost digital ruble adoption.

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