A recent survey conducted by recruitment agency HH in the Lipetsk Oblast region of Western Russia indicates that the majority of citizens are not interested in getting paid in digital rubles, which is a setback for the Central Bank’s plans for its central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Out of the respondents, 90% stated that they do not want to be paid in digital ruble tokens. Meanwhile, 10% said they would be willing to receive their entire salaries in digital rubles, and 11% said they would accept partial payment in CBDC coins, as long as it is less than half of their salary.

Lipetsk Oblast, in Western Russia. (Source: Stasyan117 [CC BY-SA 4.0])

Fifty-one percent of workers in the Lipetsk Oblast said they are not ready to switch to payments in digital rubles, and 38% are unsure about the CBDC. The skepticism towards the digital ruble extends beyond Lipetsk, as another survey revealed that the majority of Russians are not interested or concerned about the Central Bank’s coin.

While some sectors in Lipetsk, such as administrative and financial professionals, are enthusiastic about the CBDC, the survey showed that many people have doubts due to a lack of understanding about how CBDC works, fear of scams, distrust of new technologies, and concerns about high fees. Additionally, there is a preference for cash over digital forms of money.

Victory Square in Lipetsk, Western Russia.
Victory Square in Lipetsk, Western Russia. (Source: Fedorus [CC BY-SA 4.0])

Despite the setbacks, the Central Bank is still pushing forward with the digital ruble project. It has denied rumors of forcing citizens to convert their fiat holdings to CBDC tokens and merging the project with biometric ID initiatives. Lawmakers are also preparing to integrate the digital ruble with the nation’s Tax Code. The CBDC pilot was launched in mid-August in 11 cities across Russia.


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