Iran to Launch Consumer CBDC Pilot in September – Ledger Insights

Iran will launch a central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot project in September in a single region, which will then be expanded. The news of the digital rial pilot was reiterated by the Governor of the Central Bank of Iran on Friday (CCR), Ali Salehabadi, according to Iran homepageconfirming information from other media at the end of May.

A year ago, the previous governor, Abdonnaser Hemmati, said the first iteration of the digital currency had been developed in an announcement in English indicating that the internationalization of his rial currency was one of the goals.

At various times, the new governor has referenced alternative motivations such as enabling programmable money and reducing tax evasion and money laundering.

The digital rial was developed by the Iranian IT services company and uses the Hyperledger Fabric enterprise blockchain. It was not explicitly mentioned whether the central bank plans to issue digital currency directly to the public. A January report said the first tests of the digital rial would be with commercial banks, implying that banks could act as intermediaries for distribution.

Countries that are subject to international sanctions, such as Iran and Russia, are moving at a rapid pace in the development of digital currencies. Today, Russia announced that it has accelerated its CBDC plans by launching a pilot project for consumers in April 2023. Cross-border CBDCs can provide alternative routes for import and export payments for those who are excluded from SWIFT.

In addition, China is involved in the M-CBDC Bridge project exploring international payments between Thailand, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates.

In terms of geopolitical relations, like the Sino-Russian cooperation agreement signed before the start of the war in Ukraine, China signed a cooperation agreement with Iran in 2021. China is Iran’s biggest oil customer and provides Iran with technology, including blockchain technology.

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