Ukraine’s central bank prepares CBDC, digital hryvnia

The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has unveiled a proposal for its prospective digital hryvnia (e-hryvnia) central bank digital currency (CBDC). The e-hryvnia that may be used in cryptocurrency exchange activities is described in one of the design choices for the Ukrainian CBDC. 

NBU, In the recent press release, stated that the idea of the electronic hryvnia, which is its primary function, seeks to replace both the cash and non-cash versions of the hryvnia. The NBU said it has discussed the e-hryvnia idea and is working on the CBDC project with players in the virtual asset market, payment companies, and government agencies.

More on the digital hryvnia

The release said that the central bank is now analyzing and developing three potential CBDC solutions based on design and key features.

The e-hryvnia for retail non-cash payments is described in the first option, along with the potential for “programmed” money through smart contracts. According to the NBU, a retail e-hryvnia would make it possible to administer targeted social transfers and cut back on administrative costs for the government.

The e-hryvnia is envisioned as being used in cryptocurrency exchange, issuance, and other virtual asset operations in the second CBDC option. The release also states that the e-hryvnia could become one of the essential components of quality infrastructure development for the virtual assets market in Ukraine. The e-hryvnia is part of the third option, which enables cross-border payments for quicker, less expensive, and more transparent international transactions.

Oleksii Shaban, head of NBU’s department of payment systems and innovative development, stated that the creation and adoption of the e-hryvnia could be the next stage in the evolution of the payment infrastructure of Ukraine. He continued by saying that a CBDC for Ukraine might contribute to sustained economic growth, monetary sovereignty for the state, and assurance of financial security.

CBDC’s adoption future is looking bright.

According to the release, the trademark “e-hryvnia” for the NBU was registered by the Ukrainian Intellectual Property Institute in October 2022. In recent years, the NBU has aggressively investigated the prospect of releasing a CBDC, recruiting blockchain experts, and collaborating with significant industry initiatives like the Stellar Development Foundation.

The regulator claims that in 2018, the NBU began a pilot project to issue the e-hryvnia for blockchain-based retail payments. The recent development by Ukraine despite the crypto winter being witnessed could serve as an igniter for more adoption of CBDCs.

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