A representative of Russia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry called for the government to carry out cross-border settlements using CBDCs (central bank digital currency) and cryptocurrency.

According to TASS, a local Russian publication, Sergei Katyrin, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, wrote a letter to Mikhail Mishustin, the Russian Prime Minister, containing a series of proposals for developing cooperation between African countries. 

Russia to create a new bank to support economic trade with African countries

Katyrin advocated the use CBDCs (central bank digital currency) and cryptocurrency for mutual settlement and payment as part of Russia’s intent to develop more economic relationships with African countries, as a way to circumvent the Western sanctions imposed as a consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Sergei Katyrin stated, “It seems useful to instruct the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, together with the Central Bank, to ensure providing intergovernmental agreements with African states on the use of national currencies and cryptocurrencies in mutual settlements and payments.”

He also mentioned that the government should create a new export-import bank to support small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa.

At the same time, some African countries consider cooperation with Russia-linked blockchain networks.

Africa is starting to adopt crypto on a larger scale

At the beginning of April, three African countries, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and the Republic of the Congo made a joint announcement about their plans to adopt TONcoin, the native coin of Ton blockchain. The announcement stated that each country would make a gradual transition to adopt cryptocurrency as a central pillar in their economic structures.

The TON blockchain is supported by the TON Foundation and has raised funds of around $250 from big companies from the crypto industry. Huobi Incubator and KuCoin Ventures were among the fund’s contributors. As projects are accepted, the fund will deploy funds via incubation, investment grants, hackathons, and educational programs. 

Benjamin Rameau, the managing partner of TONcoin Fund, states that they are focusing on Web 3-related developments and are currently incubating a non-fungible token (NFT) and a decentralized exchange. He added that wallets, NFT marketplaces, and decentralized finance are all possibilities for the fund.

Unofficially, TON has been associated with Telegram, the privacy-focused messaging app, as its co-founder, Pavel Durov expresses support for TON and possible integrations on the Telegram app. 

According to reports, the DRC may also launch a new national stablecoin on top of TON blockchain. 

Other African countries have also reported CBDC projects, including Kenya, Ghana, and the Republic of South Africa. Ghana worked last year to build offline capabilities to support its potential CBDC. This was to encourage its use in all sectors of society.

Crypto status in Russia

Russia continues to work on issuing a new federal bill regarding the use of cryptocurrencies after they banned crypto payments in 2021. But only one year later, in mid-February 2021, the Bank of Russia launched the digital ruble trial. Russian citizens successfully transacted the digital ruble and the trial was a success. 

The digital ruble trial included 12 financial institutions and three of them have already successfully implemented the CBDC platform. During the first stage of the process, users will open digital wallets on the platform’s mobile application. They can also convert the fiat in their bank accounts into CBDC and use tokens for national transactions. 

The next stage of the trial is to test the digital rubles as a payment method in stores. More developments are planned for the CBDC that will enable users to use it as they use fiat currencies.