The State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, has approved a bill in its first reading aimed at establishing the legal framework for the digital ruble project. The proposed changes to the law “On the National Payment System” will define the central bank digital currency (CBDC) issued by the Bank of Russia and set procedures for accessing the digital ruble platform and opening a digital wallet.
Defining the Digital Ruble
The bill introduces new terms such as “participant of the digital ruble platform” and “user of the digital ruble platform,” with the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) as the sole operator responsible for ensuring the digital ruble’s safe functioning. The draft also amends the law “On Currency Regulation and Currency Control,” securing the digital ruble’s status as the official currency of the Russian Federation and classifying digital currencies issued by other central banks as foreign currencies.
Personal Data Concerns
The bill’s sponsors seek to grant the CBR the power to process personal data without obtaining user consent or notifying the body responsible for protecting such information, according to changes proposed in the federal law “On Personal Data.” The State Duma has instructed the Financial Market Committee to ensure that the rights of personal data subjects are protected when finalizing the bill ahead of its second reading.
Amendments to Civil Code
In addition to the digital ruble bill, the State Duma also approved amendments to the Civil Code that classify the CBDC as non-cash money and regulate aspects such as inheritance. Further revisions to the drafts will be accepted until mid-April. The Bank of Russia plans to commence testing of the digital ruble with real users and transactions on April 1, with a full launch aimed for 2024.