The National Bank of the Republic of Belarus has launched a pilot program for a central bank digital currency (CBDC), according to the official BelTA news agency.
The National Bank Chairman of the Board Pavel Kallaur stated that the government would decide on the issuance of a digital Belarusian ruble before the end of the year following a joint meeting of the House of Representatives and the Council of the Republic.
According to Kallaur:
“Now almost all central banks are paying attention to a new phenomenon – digital currency. According to our information, about a hundred central banks are already at the study stage, have prepared concepts or are already piloting. This is really a new phenomenon, which is associated with the development of modern technologies.”
He claims that digital money issued by central banks is a novel kind of payment.
“There is cash, and we use non-cash quite actively; digital currency is closer to non-cash money, but it also has the potential to fulfill some tasks of cash, in that it can be used not just online, but also offline.”
There will be a pilot program with a small number of participants, including banks and people, if the plan to establish a Belarusian CBDC is successful. Kallaur declared:
“We are working on building a demo version, a platform to try it out. We are also looking at the experience of the Central Bank of Russia in order to learn from the mistakes of others and avoid our own.”
He claimed that because this is a brand-new third type of currency, there would need to be legal changes made to the Civil, Banking, Tax, and Budget Codes before it could be implemented. According to Kallau, countries are conducting trials and payment system docking is being worked out, but cross-border payments have not yet been made using digital currencies.