Turkey’s central bank has completed its first CBDC test, with more planned until 2023

Turkey’s central bank has completed its first CBDC test, with more planned until 2023

Concerning the bank

Turkey’s central bank is the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT). Its functions include executing monetary and exchange rate policy, managing Turkey’s international reserves, producing and issuing banknotes, and developing, maintaining, and regulating the country’s payment networks. The CBRT is mandated by law to achieve and maintain price and financial stability in Turkey, and has the authority to utilise any policy tool at its disposal to achieve these goals. As a result, it possesses instrument independence but not goal independence. Since 2006, the CBRT has been operating under a full-fledged inflation targeting system.


The CBRT is a public firm. Its 25.000 Turkish lira capital is split into 250.000 shares. According to Turkish Central Bank Law, these shares are classified into four types:

  • The Turkish Ministry of Finance and Treasury is the only owner of Class A shares.
  • Class B shares are given to Turkish national banks.
  • Class C shares are issued to banks that are neither national banks or privileged enterprises.
  • Turkish business institutions, as well as real and legal people of Turkish nationality, are allotted Class D shares.

Class A shares formed 55.12% of CBRT’s capital as of the end of 2018, while class B, C, and D shares constituted 25.74%, 0.02%, and 19.12%, respectively.

Turkey’s central bank has completed its first CBDC test, with more planned until 2023.

Following the completion of its first payment transactions using a central bank digital currency, the Turkish central bank is planning more testing for 2023. The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) has completed the first testing of the Digital Turkish Lira, the central bank digital currency (CBDC). It has stated that testing will take place till 2023.

According to a CBRT announcement issued on December 29, the central bank authority successfully completed its “first payment transactions” utilising the digital lira. It stated that it will continue to conduct restricted, closed-circuit pilot testing with technology stakeholders in the first quarter of 2023 before expanding it to include chosen stakeholders and the remainder of the year will be dominated by financial technology firms.

It stated that the findings of these tests would be shared with the public via a “complete assessment report” before revealing more about the following phases of the project, which will broaden involvement even more. In September 2021, the bank stated that it will investigate the viability of creating a digital Turkish Lira as part of a research initiative called Central Bank Digital Turkish Lira Research and Development.

At the time, the government made no commitment to eventual currency digitalization, claiming that it had “taken no final decision regarding the launch of the digital Turkish lira.” In its most recent release, the CBRT announced that it will continue to assess the use of distributed ledger technology in payment systems as well as its “integration” with instant payment systems.

It will also prioritise researching legal elements of the digital Turkish Lira, such as the “economic” and “legal framework” surrounding digital identity, as well as its technological needs. Several nations, notably the United Kingdom and Kazakhstan, have lately began testing digital currencies issued by central banks.

The Bank of England has asked for suggestions for a proof of concept for a CBDC wallet, while Kazakhstan’s central bank has proposed launching an in-house CBDC as early as 2023, with a three-year phase-in.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) recently expressed concern about its own CBDC plans, with assistant governor Brad Jones warning in a speech on December 8 that a CBDC might displace the Australian currency and cause consumers to shun commercial banks completely.

Would CBDCs eventually lead to the demise of Crypto?

Would CBDCs eventually lead to the demise of Crypto?

Central Bank Digital Currencies, or CBDCs, have likely become a more popular topic of conversation if you follow the cryptocurrency, DeFi, or overall landscape of blockchain-related activities in the past year.

Recently, countries all around the world have been vigorously testing the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) waters. Though, only 35 nations were exploring a CBDC as of May 2020. However, 105 nations—representing more than 95% of the global GDP—were investigating a digital currency that was supported by the central banks by the middle of 2022. 19 of the G20 nations have a CBDC under analysis.

Attached below is a visual representation of the situation as of November 30, 2022. Especially, most nations are presently involved in exploring research, proof-of-concept testing, or pilot testing.

A Threat to Cryptos: CBDCs

according to a Central Bank of Bahamas research document from Q3 2022, between a CBDC and financial inclusion, CBDCs are very important for financial inclusion as there is a positive link.

However, people all across the world have been weakening their reliance on currency as the digital tendency has been developing quickly, and having electronic copies of other currencies would certainly come in helpful in this situation. Additionally, a fostering adoption will greatly benefit from the low volatility factor.

Howsoever, there are uncertainties that cryptocurrency’s method of payment may be in danger in the future. Anastasia Kor, the CMO and board member of the cryptocurrency company Choise.com, explained the situation in a textual commentary to Watcher Guru, stating, The emergence of CBDCs could spell the end of cryptocurrencies for authoritarian governments like China, but experts generally envision a future were crypto and CBDCs can coexist.

In her opinion, “many operators” will favor the decentralized nature of privately produced digital currencies over the centralized nature of centrally backed e-currency since it brings with it “confidence and liberty.”

A well-known Indian blockchain expert, Pushpendra Singh, also emphasized the centralized and decentralized components and while speaking with Watcher Guru, he claimed that he did not see CBDCs as any danger to the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Are all the birds congregating in one place?

Ultimately, the Bahamas are regarded as being at the lead of the CBDC development globally following the debut of Sand Dollar, its CBDC, in October 2020 and It was the first realm in the area to familiarize a digital currency backed by a central bank.

Jamaica launched the JAM-DEX, making it the most recent nation to do so, this summer. Parallelly, the Central Bank Digital Currency was legalized by the Bank of Jamaica (BoJ), composing it equivalent to cash.

Somewhat, China is also ahead of the competition with the beginning of its first CBDC trial series in April 2020. According to reports, 261 million people have created digital wallets for the e-CNY as of January 2022, and more than $13 billion worth of transactions had been made with the digital currency available to overseas athletes competing in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. 

Rapid progress has also been made in testing real-world use cases and using CBDCs for settlements. Recently, France and its neighbor Luxembourg took part in a test of tokenized financial markets. To pay a bond for 100 million Euros [$104 million], the two countries developed an experimental CBDC. A well-designed CBDC might play a “vital role” in the establishment of a secure tokenized financial asset sector in Europe, according to the general director of the French central bank.

For its part, the Bank of Japan intends to begin testing the Digital Yen CBDC in the first quarter of 2023. Therefore, the central bank’s strategy is to test the digital pilot for two years before deciding whether to continue with the issuance in 2026.

For its CBDC Project, Singapore has concurrently worked with the central banks of France and Switzerland. According to recent reports, the MAS has started its journey to investigate the potential of CBDC for international trade. The nation’s central bank later designated the aforementioned project as Ubin+.

Current Situation in India

One of the most recent nations to jump on the testing and trialing bandwagon in India. The aforesaid Asian nation recently began testing its retail digital rupee (ex-R) on December 1. 

More than a few other notable nations are well ahead of us in the CBDC competition and Kor gave Watcher Guru his view on whether India was in a disadvantageous position.

As the development team has learned from other central banks from across the world that has carried out their experiments, the Reserve Bank of India’s CBDC study is timely.

In reality, Singh agreed with him and believed that India could strategically benefit from both the advantages and disadvantages of the models and designs of other countries.

However, Singh also emphasized how extremely popular the Unified Payments Interface, or UPI, was in India and believed that CBDCs will eventually surpass the mentioned payment method, Singh continued, though, by stating that adoption would take time. In a similar vein, Kon continued, that the Reserve Bank of India has always been thoughtful, and without a doubt, the future will vindicate the reasons why the trials were delayed up to this point as would be seen in how the Digital Rupee uplifts the local economy.

Ultimately, some retailers have already begun letting customers pay for their goods and services using the CBDC and in fact, in a recent interview with the Economic Times, the proprietor of the store chosen for testing the CBDC expressed his view that because the Reserve Bank of India was involved, the money would remain secure in the digital wallet.

Bottom Line

The ongoing research and pilot testing phases being carried out by several nations worldwide will probably be followed by future back-to-back launches, keeping in mind the success done thus far. The torch-bearers can serve as an inspiration to the nations now in the pre-launch phase. But whether or not that all the many monetary types would be able to coexist successfully depends on the time.

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