Anatoly Aksakov, chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on Financial Markets, believes that the country’s not-yet-launched digital currency is the “highest form of money.”

In a Monday interview with state media RT, Aksakov expressed optimism about Russia’s upcoming central bank digital currency, or CBDC, predicting that a digital ruble will become an integral part of national settlements in two or three years.

Aksakov said that the Bank of Russia expects to finalize a digital ruble prototype by the end of 2021, and plans to issue a development roadmap in the near future. “The digital ruble is the highest form of money at this stage,” he declared, elaborating that “In fact, it is the same ruble, but in the digital form.”

major critic of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), Aksakov stressed that a digital ruble poses minimal risk compared with cryptocurrencies, as it would be issued by the Central Bank of Russia.

Aksakov also said that Russia will gradually move away from the U.S. dollar for settlements in the near future. He noted that a number of countries like China, India and Russia have been taking measures to enlarge their presence in the global economy. However, it is still too early for a complete withdrawal from the dollar at this point, Aksakov said.

The Bank of Russia officially announced its CBDC plans in late 2020, issuing a consultation paper on the development of a digital ruble in October 2020. Despite the Association of Russian Banks warning about the fraud and security risks of proposed digital ruble models in January, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Russia Alexey Zabotkin said that the bank aims to start piloting the CBDC in early 2022.