The National Bank of Georgia (NBG) is propelling forward with its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) venture, dubbed the Digital GEL Pilot Project. The bank is now in the phase of scouting for a singular technology ally to facilitate the Limited Access Live Pilot Environment. This environment aims to scrutinize the technological prowess and possible applicative spheres of the CBDC system through an array of use cases.
Post an extensive research tenure and meticulous deliberation, NBG has culled a list of nine enterprises deemed fit for this exploratory journey. These firms have showcased ample technological potential, maturity, capacity, pertinent experience, and enthusiasm for on-field examination. The notable list comprises Augentic GmbH, Bitt Inc., Broxus Holdings Ltd., Currency Network Ltd., DCM Corp Limited, eCurrency Mint Inc., FARI Solutions Ltd., Ripple Labs, Inc., and Sovereign Wallet Co., Ltd. At the current juncture, NBG maintains a technology-neutral stance, weighing the varied technological solutions these shortlisted companies can contribute to the Digital GEL project.
A Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) is essentially a digital form of a country’s existing currency, which is issued by the country’s central bank. Unlike decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, a CBDC is centralized and enjoys the same legal status as physical banknotes and coins. It’s an endeavor to modernize the financial infrastructure and respond to the digital economy’s exigencies.
Among the shortlisted entities, Ripple Labs, Inc. holds a unique position with its Ripple CBDC solution. This solution aims to provide a neutral bridge between different currencies, allowing for frictionless value transfer, which can be particularly beneficial in the realm of cross-border transactions. The Ripple CBDC platform could potentially offer a robust foundation for the Digital GEL project, aligning with the objectives of fostering a seamless and inclusive financial ecosystem.
Upon concluding the selection phase, NBG aspires to earmark a single technology partner to transition into the pilot phase. This phase will test the CBDC platform in a restricted-duration live setting, evaluating the pragmatic use cases therein. The anticipation surrounding this pivotal pilot project is palpable, signifying a significant stride towards modernizing Georgia’s monetary landscape and embracing the digital currency epoch.
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