The state-controlled commercial bank Sberbank has expressed fears that the Russian Central Bank’s “digital ruble” plans will have a negative effect on liquidity in the nation.
The Central Bank has accelerated its plans to roll out a central bank digital currency (CBDC) with a pilot slated for next year – likely in a response to China’s progress with its digital yuan project and the European Union’s own digital euro efforts.
But per Kommersant, Sberbank appears to have been put off by the fact that the Central Bank apparently favors two CBDC models – both of which they feel would be disadvantageous to commercial banks and other financial sector entities.
The bank’s Deputy Chairman Anatoly Popov is quoted as stating that he estimates that in three years’ time some USD 28bn - USD 56bn worth of fiat could be converted to digital currency.
Popov opined that one model would see regulators manage clients’ wallets on a Central Bank-run CBDC platform with banks and other financial organizations serving as “mere intermediaries,” helping their clients do little more than open wallets and use them to make settlements.
The second model, he said, would see the Central Bank create wallets for commercial banks, which would then be passed on to the client, with no indication as to who hosts the wallet – the commercial bank or the Central Bank.
“We believe that the models of CBDC issuance currently being discussed have a number of serious shortcomings. They limit, among other things, the activities of commercial banks. Our concern – as a financial institution – is that liquidity […] will be transferred to the [Central Bank].”
And should his USD 28bn - USD 56bn forecasts come true, Popov added, these funds “will no longer be available for lending, which will ultimately lead to a shortage of liquidity.”
The banker concluded that this could, in turn, eventually hit customers in the pocket, too, concluding,
“As a result [of the fall in liquidity], there could be an increase in rates.”
Popov’s calls came after the Vice President of the Russian Association of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain (RACIB) made similar claims earlier this month, urging Moscow to give commercial banks more control over Russia’s forthcoming CBDC. __
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