Ukraine to start pilot testing CBDC on ministry employees

Mon 23 Aug 2021 ▪ 8h54 ▪ 3 min read — by Siobhan Jones

Ukraine is preparing to introduce a central bank digital currency (CBDC). A pilot testing of CBDC for salary payments is about to start and it will be conducted by the Ministry of Digital Transformation. Its testing comes just three weeks after Ukraine’s president signed a bill allowing the central bank to issue digital currency.

Digital hryvnia payments

Mikhail Fedorov, Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation and the country’s Deputy Prime Minister, spoke about the latest development. In an interview with a Ukrainian TV channel TSN, Fedorov said his ministry was considering a pilot test in which the institution’s employees would be paid in digital hryvnia.

“Frankly as one of the first pilots, we have on the table the question of paying salaries to employees of the Ministry of Digital Transformation in electronic hryvnia. Ukrainians rank first in the world in terms of adaptability to virtual assets. This openness to technology can be one of Ukraine’s main advantages which can attract additional investments to the country and its businesses,” said the Minister.

Mikhail Fedorov is confident that the implementation of CBDC will go smoothly. In a Chainalysis report titled “Global Cryptocurrency Adoption Index 2021”, published on 18th August, Ukraine ranks fourth in the world after Vietnam, India and Pakistan. Last year, the country was ranked number one.

Another step towards widespread adoption

In his interview, the minister argued in favour of introducing CBDC in a small, controlled pilot project. At this stage, there is  no way for the Ukrainian government to predict how CBDC might affect the financial, economic and regulatory environment. Therefore, focusing on ministry staff is the best way to start the testing phase, Fedorov said.

There have also been rumours in the media that the Ukrainian government may use the CBDC to pay social benefits and state subsidies. However, the minister believes that the government needs to test the technology before moving to widespread application.

Ukraine is moving towards digitalisation and is open to the use of e-currencies. But whether CBDC experiments will be successful and what impact it will have on the country’s economy is going to become clear soon.

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Siobhan Jones

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