Iran to Start Testing a Digital Rial This Week
The country’s central bank published a draft document outlining goals and and opportunities for a digital currency in August.
The Central Bank of Iran will start a central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot on Thursday, according to the news service of the country’s Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture.
In the report, the CBI was quoted saying the goal of the “crypto-rial” is to turn banknotes into programmable entities.
The announcement comes after the bank published a draft document outlining the “goals, dimensions, threats and opportunities for the development” of a digital rial in August.
In May 2021, former CBI Governor Abdolnaser Hemmati said the bank had already developed a “primary version” of a digital rial. The CBI’s current head, Ali Salehabadi, said earlier this month that the bank had the necessary infrastructure and rules in place for a CBDC.
Although the country’s government views crypto as a means of circumventing strict U.S. sanctions – even placing a $10 million import order to be paid in crypto earlier this year – the CBI has revealed little about its work on a digital rial, or its function.
The digital currency is not designed to compete with global cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, according to the report.
The central bank did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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