What Is CryptoRuble?

The CryptoRuble is a digital currency currently in development, commissioned by Russian President Vladimir Putin. It will not be a cryptocurrency in the way that Bitcoin is, as it will be issued by the government with no mining involved.

The value of the CryptoRuble will be identical to the value of a regular ruble. The first pilot group for the testing of the digital ruble was formed in June 2021 and includes 12 banks.

Key Takeaways

  • Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said in October of 2017 that his country would issue CryptoRuble, a state-sponsored cryptocurrency. 
  • The national digital currency is expected to start live transactions in 2022 after testing in the latter half of 2021.
  • CryptoRuble will be unlike a cryptocurrency as it will not be mined and instead issued by the Russian government.

Understanding CryptoRuble

Vladimir Putin announced in October of 2017 that Russia would be issuing its own state-sponsored cryptocurrency—the CryptoRuble. The CryptoRuble, although not formally launched, began its testing phase in June 2021. The digital ruble will be issued by Russia’s Central Bank as a central bank digital currency (CBDC) and managed by the Russian government.

Certain Russian banks have expressed interest in testing out the digital ruble, including the Credit Bank of Moscow and Crimea’s Russian National Commercial Bank. This testing is expected to start in the second half of 2021. 

In 2022, the bank is expected to allow citizens to test the currency. The idea is that CryptoRuble will help decrease costs within the financial system while boosting competition among banks. It’s worth noting that Russia still doesn’t recognize digital tokens or cryptocurrencies as legal tender. 

On the downside, the digital currency will be centralized in nature, as it’s issued by the Central Bank. The CryptoRuble is expected to operate like the Russian ruble, just in digital and encrypted form. The CryptoRuble will have the same price the ruble has and will be able to be exchanged with traditional rubles.

Unlike cryptocurrencies, CryptoRuble will not be mined, but instead issued by the Russian government. Thus, it will be regulated by an official body, whereas cryptocurrencies are not.

Goals of CryptoRuble

It is speculated that one of the main reasons for Putin's interest in blockchain is that transactions are encrypted, and thus easier to discreetly send money without worrying about sanctions placed on the country by the international community. 

This theory gained traction after the Financial Times reported in early 2018 that one of Putin's economic advisors, Sergei Glazyev, said during a government meeting that, "this instrument [CryptoRuble] suits us very well for sensitive activity on behalf of the state. We can settle accounts with our counterparties all over the world with no regard for sanctions." Note that Glazyev himself was placed under sanctions by President Obama, preventing him from trading in or traveling to America in 2014.

Another reason for CryptoRuble is that it could help to stomp out other cryptocurrencies that are beyond government control like Bitcoin and Ether. Russia remains displeased with cryptocurrencies, with Putin himself saying in October 2017 that cryptocurrencies were used mainly for crime purposes. These sentiments continue to reflect in the bills introduced by Russian lawmakers in 2020 and 2021.


Article Sources
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  1. Bank of Russia. "First Pilot Group for Digital Ruble Testing Formed." Accessed July 25, 2021.

  2. The White House. “FACT SHEET: Ukraine-Related Sanctions.” Accessed April 6, 2021. 

  3. Global Legal Monitor. "Russian Federation: New Bill Defines Cryptocurrency, Proposes Tax Regulations." Accessed July 25, 2021.

  4. arXiv. "CryptoRuble: From Russia with Love." Accessed April 6, 2021.

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