Republic of Georgia's Central Bank Is Researching a Digital Currency

The National Bank of Georgia hopes a digital lari would improve the efficiency of financial services.

AccessTimeIconMay 5, 2021 at 1:28 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:51 p.m. UTC

The National Bank of Georgia wants to launch its own central bank digital currency (CBDC), the regulator said in a public statement on Tuesday.

A small country in the Caucasian region with a population of 3.7 million, Georgia used to be ranked as one of the world leaders in bitcoin mining. Now it's planning to join the growing number of the nations exploring potential sovereign digital currencies.

The project is expected "to enhance efficiencies of the domestic payment system and financial inclusion," the statement read. The regulator called for technology firms, fintech companies and interested financial institutions to partner with it to develop the digital Georgian lari. The regulator might create a regulatory sandbox, or testing environment, for the companies working on the CBDC project.

No specific details were mentioned in the announcement. The goals of the digital lari pretty much repeat those of other CBDC projects, including the digital dollar: incentivizing innovation, enhancing the efficiency of financial services, facilitating financial inclusion and reaching the unbanked population.

The National Bank is expecting the prospective partners from the private sector to make suggestions on keeping costs low, ease of use and near-instant settlement, the announcement said. The future solution should also allow for smart contracts and automatic payments, "for example automatic tax accounting and tax collection for simple transactions."

The new CBDC should be compliant with the FATF anti-money laundering directives and Europe's personal data protection rules, or GDPR, and allow the operator to collect statistical data without de-anonymizing users.


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