Turkish central bank is set to begin trials of a new digital currency in 2021 after the central bank announced it had been working on a digital lira. The previously undisclosed project is set to roll out in pilot form over the second half of the year. The announcement is the first indication of its kind that the country has been weighing up a digital currency launch. Turkey has joined several other countries in the race of developing a CBDC.
The CBDC project would now move to a pilot rollout.
With the CBDC pilot scheme’s announcement, Turkey is now at a more advanced stage of development than other countries with publicly disclosed plans for a central bank digital currency (CBDC). Naci Ağbal, head of the Turkish central bank, said the conceptual phase had been completed, and the project would now move to a pilot rollout. “There is an R&D project initiated on digital money. Currently, the conceptual phase of this project has been completed. We aim to start pilot tests in the second half of 2021,” Ağbal noted.
BIS had no record of Turkey working on any CBDC proposals.
The Turkish central bank’s announcement comes as a surprise to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), which tracks CBDC development progress on a country by country basis, and had previously had no record of Turkey working on any CBDC proposals. The news comes as countries around the world race to develop their own central bank digital currencies to take advantage of more efficient payment systems and greater transactional utility via the blockchain. Turkey now joins China, Sweden, and the Bahamas in reaching the soft launch/pilot trial phase of a CBDC development.