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Russia Survey: 90% Don’t Want to Be Paid in Digital Rubles – CBDC Setback?

The Central Bank’s plans for a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in Western Russia have been met with significant skepticism. According to a report by Lipetsk News, a survey conducted by recruitment agency HH in the pivotal Lipetsk Oblast region of Western Russia indicates a tepid reception towards the adoption of digital rubles.

In the survey, a striking 90% of the respondents expressed disinterest in receiving payments in digital ruble tokens. Conversely, a mere 10% showed enthusiasm for receiving their entire salaries in the form of digital rubles. Additionally, 11% indicated they might consider a partial payment in CBDCs, provided it constituted less than half of their total remuneration.

In their findings, the agency reported that in Lipetsk Oblast, a substantial 51% of workers firmly stated they weren’t prepared to transition to payments in digital rubles. Additionally, a significant 38% conveyed uncertainty regarding the digital coin.

This reluctance mirrors earlier sentiments from August, when another survey indicated that the majority of Russians were either disinterested in or apprehensive about the Central Bank’s digital coin initiative.

The business community in Russia has also shared varied views on the pilot for the digital ruble. Moreover, the nation’s preeminent banking association has noted that the general public remains “extremely cautious” about embracing the digital ruble.

In response to this skepticism, the association has recommended that the Central Bank consider implementing a clear prohibition on compelling citizens to set up a digital ruble wallet.

The Russian Digital Ruble: Setbacks in Store?

While there’s evident hesitation towards the Central Bank’s digital currency in Lipetsk, some sectors seem more receptive to the idea of a CBDC.

From the individuals expressing a positive stance on the CBDC, an impressive 64% of workers in the administrative domain mentioned they’re open to payments in digital rubles. Similarly, a significant 60% of those in the finance and accountancy sectors are keen on the idea of their wages being paid in CBDC tokens. Furthermore, over one-fourth of marketing professionals voiced a desire to receive their entire salary in digital rubles.

Beyond the workforce, certain regional leaders in Russia have championed the digital coin. They anticipate that the forthcoming offline payment capabilities of the CBDC will be particularly beneficial for their constituents.

Interestingly, the primary concern for many of those apprehensive about the digital ruble, as highlighted in the Lipetsk survey, is a lack of understanding. They’re uncertain about the CBDC’s mechanics and how one would transact using digital ruble coins.

Concerns related to CBDCs span various issues among the populace. A notable portion expressed fears concerning CBDC-related scams, which have already victimized individuals across several Russian regions.

A slightly lesser percentage of respondents admitted a general distrust towards emerging technologies. Approximately one in five individuals expressed concerns over potential high transaction fees associated with CBDCs. Additionally, 19% voiced a general preference for traditional cash over any digital currency form.

In response to circulating speculations, the Central Bank this week has clarified its stance. It denied intentions to mandate citizens to transition their fiat holdings into CBDC tokens. Furthermore, the Bank rejected rumors suggesting a merger of its digital ruble initiative with biometric ID projects.

In legislative advancements, officials are on the brink of endorsing a proposal that aims to incorporate the digital ruble within Russia’s Tax Code framework.

It’s worth noting that the pilot for the Russian CBDC was initiated in mid-August and is operational in 11 cities across the country.

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