September 24, 2022

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

The launch of the crypto rial was initially planned for November, according to the Chamber, which said the CBDC is intended “to help improve financial inclusion and function as a powerful tool for CBI to compete with other stablecoins globally.” It added that experts in the country are concerned about the willingness of businesses to use CBDC, public understanding of digital wallets and the impact the introduction would have on banks.

Cryptocurrency is also seen as a tool to combat the corruption that is rampant in Iran. The development of crypto-riyal began in 2018, and the Central Bank promised to test the CBDC throughout the year.

Al Jazeera reports that the CBDC will run on the Borna platform, developed using Hyperledger Fabric, IBM’s open source distributed ledger platform. The news agency adds that banks will exchange paper rials for electronic ones. As the platform is allowed, the Central Bank will select participating banks.

Borna was adopted in 2019 to help modernize Iran’s aging banking system. According to Al Jazeera’s source, the Borna platform will enable the provision of financial services on a fee basis, although this will not be part of the current trial.

Related: Iran’s government to cut off electricity supply to legal cryptocurrency mining platforms in the country

Using cryptocurrency to make payments inside Iran is banned, but in August Iranians began using cryptocurrency to pay for imports, leading to concerns among Iranian businesses about the lack of cryptocurrency regulation. The Iranian Blockchain Association has made similar appeals in the past.