Russian mobile carriers consider smartphone integration for digital ruble

Russian wireless service providers MegaFon and Beeline proposed to link digital ruble wallets on smartphones to user’s phone numbers.

Major Russian mobile network operators like MegaFon and Beeline are considering how the digital ruble will function on their mobile devices. 

According to a Feb. 16 report by local news agency Izvestia, Beeline and MegaFon proposed to set up smartphone wallets for Russia’s central bank digital currency.

The carriers also suggested additional services like linking a digital wallet to a customer’s phone number. This would allow users to store digital rubles directly on their smartphones as well as transfer and pay with the digital currency using smart devices, a spokesperson for MegaFon said.

According to Izvestia, both MegaFon and Beeline have been actively involved in digital ruble discussions with the Russian central bank. The companies’ representatives said:

“We are interested in digital ruble aspects like maintaining wallets on smart devices, which is not part of the current version of the concept, as well as the possibility of performing P2P payment transactions without the participation of financial intermediaries, including offline mode support.”

Olga Skorobogatova, first deputy governor at the Russian central bank, claimed in late 2020 that digital ruble wallets would be available through a platform by the Bank of Russia.

The Bank of Russia released its first consultation paper on the development of the digital ruble in October 2020. The bank said that users will be able to access the digital ruble on their e-wallets and mobile devices, both online and offline.

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