Russia's central bank believes the time is right to develop and launch its own digital currency, one of its senior officials said today.
Olga Skorobogatova, deputy chief of the Bank of Russia, was speaking during an appearance at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
According to state-owned news service TASS, Skorobogatova touched on two key topics: its work with digital currencies, as well as the kinds of partners the Bank of Russia wants to work with on blockchain initiatives.
What was said: During the event, Skorobogatova issued comments about the Bank of Russia's work with digital currencies. It's an application that the bank has been publicly exploring since June 2016 at the earliest – at the time, the central bank's fintech head, Vadim Kalukhov, said that "the matter is being studied".
But Skorobogatova's comments are perhaps the most aggressive to date from the institution.
"Regulators of all countries agree that it's time to develop national cryptocurrencies, this is the future. Every country will decide on specific time frames. After our pilot projects we will understand what system we could use in our case for our national currency," Skorobogatova was quoted as saying.
Among those the Bank of Russia wants to work with: members of the European Union.
"We want to jointly test blockchain for cooperating with EU countries on the projects we're going to start this year," she said.
Skorobogatova notably remarked, per the publication's report, that blockchain adoption would be widely used over the next decade. Specifically, she offered a seven-to-ten year timeline during which firms in Russia's finance space – which have been testing applications for much of the past year – would move to integrate the tech more closely.
"I think it will take us 7-10 years - not only the financial sector, but other sectors as well - to launch the production of this technology for serious projects," said Skorobogatova, according to TASS.
Why it matters: The comments shine a light on how the Bank of Russia is examining the question of digital currencies. It's an area of study being explored by a range of central banks, including those from China, Singapore and the UK, among others.
Skorobogatova's comments also come as the Bank of Russia develops new regulations for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The Russian central bank is reportedly planning to regulate bitcoin as a kind of digital good.
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