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Iran Gears Up for Public Testing of its Digital Rial Currency

Iran to Launch its Digital Rial CBDC: Central banks around the world are exploring digital versions of their currencies, known as Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs). Iran is joining the race and will soon launch a public trial phase for its digital rial.

The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) will take the lead in this pilot program, which is expected to begin on June 21st. Initially, the digital rial will be accessible to two groups: bank customers within Iran and tourists visiting Kish Island. This island will serve as a testing ground for the new digital currency.

The CBI explains that users can make payments using the digital rial by scanning a barcode generated by a special software. This software will likely be available on smartphones or other digital devices. The digital rial also allows users to transfer money directly between each other’s digital wallets.

Benefits of a Digital Rial

Similar to other CBDCs, the digital rial leverages blockchain technology. This means it’s a digital representation of the Iranian rial currency, but with some key advantages.

One benefit is the potential reduction in reliance on physical cash. The digital rial could make online and mobile payments faster and more convenient. Additionally, all transactions using the digital rial will be recorded on a blockchain network. This permanent record could increase transparency and potentially reduce fraud.

Another advantage of the digital rial is its ability to facilitate instant fund transfers between buyers and sellers. Traditionally, banks might need time to settle transactions. The digital rial aims to eliminate this waiting period, making payments more streamlined.

The Potential for Innovation

The CBI believes the digital rial could pave the way for new business models, especially in e-commerce. The programmable nature of CBDCs opens exciting possibilities for future financial products and services.

Global CBDC Landscape

While Iran is launching its digital rial pilot program, many other countries are at various stages of CBDC development. India, for instance, is conducting trials of its eRupee in a limited retail setting. Similarly, China, Japan, the UK, and Russia are all exploring CBDCs.

Nigeria became the first African country to launch a CBDC, the eNaira, back in 2022. This digital currency adoption highlights the growing global interest in CBDCs and their potential to reshape the future of finance.

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