Iran to launch ‘crypto rial’ CBDC trial despite lack of infrastructure

The Central Bank of Iran will launch a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBCC) pilot on September 22, the Iranian Chamber of Commerce announced. The so-called “crypto-real” has been in the planning stage for many years.

The launch of the crypto riyal was originally planned in November, according to the Chamber, the CBDC is intended “to help improve financial inclusion and for the CBI to act as a powerful tool to compete with other stable coins globally.” He added that experts in the country are concerned about the readiness of businesses to use CBCC, public awareness of digital wallets and the impact of its introduction on banks.

Crypto-riyal has also been seen as a way to combat rampant corruption in Iran. The development of the crypto-reale started in 2018, and the central bank promised to test the CBDC throughout the year.

According to Al Jazeera, CBCC runs on the Borna platform, IBM’s open source distributed ledger technology platform using Hyperledger Fabric. The news agency added that banks will trade paper riyals electronically. As the platform is authorized, the central bank selects banks to participate.

Borna was approved in 2019 to help modernize Iran’s aging banking system. According to an Al Jazeera source, Borna’s platform will enable payment-based financial services.

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The use of cryptocurrency for payment is prohibited in Iran, but in August, Iranians began using crypto to pay abroad, leading to concerns about the lack of cryptocurrency regulation for Iranian businesses. The Iranian Blockchain Association has made similar claims in the past.