Dead On Arrival? Surveys Reveal That Russians Have Little Interest In Digital Ruble

The majority of Russian citizens seem to have no interest or trust in the Russian central bank digital currency (CBDC), according to two recent consumer surveys. This comes days after the Bank of Russia (BoR) unveiled the digital ruble’s official logo and commission fees.

According to the Bank of Russia, using the digital ruble as a payment and transfer means will be free of charge until the end of 2024. From the beginning of 2025, citizens will be charged 15 rubles (about $0.16) for each business-to-business transaction, 0.3% of the transaction sum for commercial account transfers, and 0.2% for civil service payments. 

32% Of Russians In Survey Consider Digital Ruble A Scam

The Russian CBDC was officially launched on August 1, 2023, in a pilot phase involving thirteen local banks. According to BoR Governor Elvira Nabiullina, citizens will not be compelled to use the digital currency, as it will run along with cash and non-cash forms of money.

Interestingly, Russians don’t have an interest in using the digital ruble. A recent survey by information service provider BankInform found that some citizens may even consider the CBDC a “scam.”

In the survey, about one-third (32%) of the respondents selected the option “This is some kind of fraud, you have to be careful.” However, BankInform acknowledged that many people who chose this option do not seem well informed about the CBDC.

It was also found that another one-third of the participants are interested in news about the digital ruble but do not intend to use it. Only 13% of the survey respondents consider the CBDC useful and plan to use it.

51% Of Participants Don’t See A Need For A CBDC: Vedomosti

In a separate consumer survey, newspaper company Vedomosti questioned over 1,600 Russians on their opinions on the newly-launched CBDC. According to the poll data, only 15% knew the plans to introduce the digital ruble in 2025.

About 55% of the survey participants knew of the CBDC initiative but didn’t know the details. Meanwhile, the remaining 30% heard about the digital ruble for the first time in the survey.

Furthermore, more than half (51%) of the survey respondents found it difficult to say why the digital ruble is needed. It was also found that while more of the older generation know the CBDC, only 63% see the purpose.

While the Bank of Russia has admitted that it doesn’t see the mass adoption of the digital ruble before 2027, much work will need to go into informing and educating the Russian citizens on the need for a central bank digital currency.

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