Turkey will begin piloting a previously undisclosed digital currency in the second half of 2021, the country’s chief central banker Naci Ağbal told MPs on Friday.
“There is an R&D project on the subject of digital money. The concept phase of this project is currently completed. We want to start pilot tests in the second half of 2021. “
Agbal’s surprising comments put Turkey in the fast lane to a central bank digital currency (CBDC). Turkey rarely reveals ambitions in terms of digital currencies. The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), known in currency circles as the “Bank for Central Banks”, does not even record that Turkey has an active CBDC project in its ongoing database.
But Turkey now wants to overtake many better-known CBDC projects. Although 80% of central banks are considering CBDC, according to the BIS, only a handful – Sweden, China, Bahamas – have reached the pilot phase / soft launch.
The details of the Turkish CBDC project are murky at best. Local crypto outlet Koin Bülteni reported in September that the central bank had hired experts for its digital currency research and development team.
Topics of obvious interest include blockchain, cryptography, and big data.