Iran is launching a CBDC crypto-rial

Iran has become the latest country to launch its central bank digital currency. Earlier than expected, crypto-rial has today entered into a pilot phase.

The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) is launching a test version of its central bank digital currency (CBDC). A long-awaited crypto-rial pilot program is due to start today, according to the announcement released on Wednesday. Earlier this month, the Iranian Chamber of Commerce informed that the project would begin by November, amid experts' doubts about the CBDC's impact on the economy.

The crypto-rial is designed as a complementary, fully-digital national currency with the aim of "turning banknotes into a programmable entity," as CBI puts it. Ali Salehabadi, the bank's governor, assures that the infrastructure and rules for the Iranian CBDC are ready. The crypto-rial will run on a Borna platform, developed with Hyperledger Fabric, a permissioned blockchain framework created under the auspices of IBM.

The new currency is supposedly both highly secure and highly trackable, raising privacy concerns. CBI has addressed the issue in a draft document, although with little regard to those anxieties.

The authors remarked that anonymity might foster money-laundering and concluded that "selecting an optimal point between these two components can be one of the considerations in developing the digital rial," – without further explanation.