The National Bank of the Republic of Belarus has prepared a pilot program for a central bank digital currency (CBDC), according to the official BelTA news agency. The country will make a decision on the issuance of a digital Belarusian ruble by the end of the year, chairman of the national bank Pavel Kallaur said.
“By the end of the year, after discussions and consultations, we should determine the possibility and feasibility of introducing a digital ruble in our country,” Kallaur said. “The decision will be made at the level of the head of state.”
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If the project goes ahead with creating a Belarusian CBDC, there will be a pilot program that will “experiment with a narrow range of participants — banks and individuals.” Kallaur said, “We are working on setting up a demo version, a platform to try it [a CBDC] out.” He added:
“We will look at the experience of the Russian Central Bank, to learn from their mistakes and not make our own.”
Kallaur noted that the introduction of a CBDC would require changes to the civil code, banking and tax codes, and the national budget.
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Kallaur called CBDC a “third form of money” and said that a digital ruble would be much like other forms of “non-cash money” but available offline as well as online. “Cross-border payment is the most interesting technology for us,” he said. “If other countries introduce digital currency, we should be ready to hook up our system so our citizens and companies have a high level of service.”
Belarus has taken steps to establish itself as a modern financial center, creating the High-Tech Park economic zone and taking measures to set up crypto mining and an exchange in the country.
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