Russian lawmakers approve first reading of draft laws establishing CBDC regulation, issuance

According to local media reports, the Russian State Duma approved draft laws establishing a system to issue and regulate central bank digital currencies (CBDC) in a first reading on March 16.

Additionally, the Parliament approved the first reading of a bill that makes changes to the Russian Civil Code and defines the digital ruble as “non-cash money.” It also establishes rules around wallet agreements and the inheritance of digital currency.

The two bills mainly cover gaps in regulation stemming from the digitalization of a currency.

Both bills will now go through a review process and be finalized for a second reading based on feedback from lawmakers. The second reading will take place in the coming months.

Personal data protection

The current version of the bill establishing the CBDC system includes a proposal to change legislation and authorize the Russian central bank — the issuer of the digital ruble — authority to process the personal data of users without consent.

However, lawmakers disagree with the notion and believe that it would undermine citizens’ right to personal data privacy and protection.

The Parliament said it has instructed the financial markets committee to finalize the draft laws for a second reading and ensure that personal data will be protected appropriately in the new digital ruble system.

Digital ruble imminent

The draft laws establish the central bank as the sole issuer of the digital ruble and grant the regulator additional powers to ensure appropriate supervision.

Under the draft laws, the digital ruble issued by the Russian central bank will be deemed an official representation of the country’s currency and will similarly consider all foreign digital currencies issued by a central bank to be official state currencies.

The legislation establishes a foundational framework for the digital ruble, which includes setting up a platform that will issue the CBDC and developing wallets for storing it. The draft laws also define procedures to access the platform and rules for participants.

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