Turkey’s central bank completes first CBDC test with more to come in 2023

After recently completing its first payment transactions using a central bank digital currency, the Turkish central bank is pushing ahead with more tests over 2023.

The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) has completed the first trial of its central bank digital currency (CBDC), the Digital Turkish Lira, and has signaled plans to continue testing throughout 2023. 

According to a statement released by the CBRT on Dec. 29, the central bank authority said it successfully executed its “first payment transactions” using the digital lira.

It said it will continue to run limited, closed circuit pilot tests with technology stakeholders in the first quarter of 2023, before expanding it to include selected banks and financial technology companies in the rest of the year.

It said the results of these tests will be shared with the public through a “comprehensive evaluation report,” before unveiling more the next phases of the study which will further widen participation.

The Turkish central bank first announced it was looking into the benefits of introducing a digital Turkish Lira in September 2021 in a research project called “Central Bank Digital Turkish Lira Research and Development.”

At the time, the government made no commitment to the ultimate digitalization of the country’s currency, noting it had “made no final decision regarding the issuance of the digital Turkish lira.”

In its most recent statement, the CBRT said it will continue testing the use of distributed ledger technologies in payment systems and their “integration” with instant payment systems.

It will also prioritize studying the legal aspects around the digital Turkish Lira, such as the “economic” and “legal framework” around digital identification, along with its technological requirements.

Related: CBDCs are no threat to crypto — Binance CEO

Several countries, including the United Kingdom and Kazakhstan, have recently begun piloting central bank digital currencies.

The Bank of England has opened applications for a proof of concept for a CBDC wallet, while the Kazakhstan central bank has recommended the introduction of an in-house CBDC as early as 2023 with a phased implementation over three years.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) recently expressed hesitation about its own CBDC plans, with assistant governor Brad Jones warning in a speech on Dec. 8 that a CBDC could displace the Australian dollar and lead to people avoiding commercial banks entirely.

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