Recent hearings in the Russian parliament have sparked discussions on making significant amendments to the regulations governing the digital ruble initiative within the country.
Members of parliament have identified critical areas of focus, namely the handling of debt, services offered to non-residents, and the role of the central bank. These proposed modifications aim to alter the original provisions stated in the Constitution.
To prepare for the second reading of the digital ruble legislation, the Committee on the Financial Market of the State Duma has formulated several proposals. These proposals aim to reevaluate and refine existing regulations, considering the concerns raised during the parliamentary hearings.
According to an article released on May 22 by Interfax, a state-owned news site, it is reported that numerous significant changes are being proposed.
One of the proposed alterations prohibits the Bank of Russia, the country’s central bank, from financing private enterprises. Instead, the responsibility for the digital ruble network would be exclusively assigned to the monetary policy authority.
Furthermore, if the suggested modifications are enacted, safeguarding personal information belonging to Federal Security Service agents would become the responsibility of the Federal Reserve.
Additionally, the revised drafts suggested simplifying the process for non-residents to utilize banks in other countries to gain access to the central bank digital currency (CBDC) platform. In this hypothetical scenario, non-residents would not face any restrictions in utilizing the platform, and the involvement of foreign banks would be encouraged.
The existing legislation grants enforcement officials the public authority to seize any digital rubles from debtor accounts without any imposed limitations.
However, the legal department of the State Duma has raised objections to this provision, citing national laws prohibiting withdrawals exceeding the minimum income threshold, which stands at approximately $195 per month.
The commencement of the CBDC pilot program, initially slated for April pending the enactment of Bill 270838-8, has been delayed due to ongoing debates and discussions surrounding the proposal. As reported by Interfax, the legislation will be forwarded to the Committee for further review before the end of July.
Meanwhile, neighboring Belarus, a close ally of Russia, has developed a prototype for its CBDC. The chairman of the Belarusian Central Bank has expressed intentions to decide on introducing a digital Belarusian ruble by the end of this calendar year.