Russian Mobile Operators Eye Payments Services, Wallets for Digital Ruble

Some telcos are looking at developing a digital wallet that would link the digital currency to users' mobile phone numbers.

Feb 16, 2021 at 11:31 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:11 p.m. UTC

Russian mobile network operators Beeline and Megafon are considering providing wallet and other services for a possible digital ruble, the Izvestia newspaper reported Tuesday.

  • The companies are "interested" in developing a digital wallet that would link the central bank digital currency (CBDC) to users' mobile phone numbers.
  • A Beeline representative said the Bank of Russia's current concept for a CBDC makes no provision for maintaining wallets on smart devices.
  • According the report, Megafon and Beeline are interested in how peer-to-peer (P2P) payment transactions could be performed on- and offline without the involvement of financial institutions.
  • "We are interested in such aspects of using the digital ruble as maintaining wallets on smart devices ... not just providing a link between the client and the central bank or financial intermediary," the Beeline representative said.
  • In October 2020, the Bank of Russia started a series of consultations around the potential launch of the digital ruble, with a pilot possibly coming this year.
  • Concerns have been raised about a centralized CBDC that disintermediates retail banks and brings them into competition with the central bank for consumers' deposits.


The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.