National Bank of Georgia: Digital Lari CBDC in 2022

The National Bank of Georgia (NBG) is set to pilot a digital currency project study. Planning to introduce its own CBDC in 2022, NBG Vice President, Papuna Lezhava, has announced Georgia’s CBDC plans.

The Georgian monetary authority intends to explore blockchain-based use cases for its Lari fiat currency’s proposed digital variant. NBG wants to facilitate retail sales via the CBDC. The NBG VP states 85% of central banks globally are willing to debut state-issued digital currencies.

Per Interfax news agency, Lezhava explained:

Some are in the research phase, some are testing, some have already implemented it, including China and the Bahamas. We also want to be at the forefront of this trend.

Lezhava says a central bank digital currency (CBDC) “an evolution of cash,” not a cryptocurrency. The technology powering decentralized digital money will power the digital Georgian lari, as well. The Lari coin won’t require mining and will be free of market speculation, per Lezhava.

The NBG’s representative reveals the Issuer of Georgia’s digital Lari (sovereign currency) will only and solely be the NBG. The Georgian digital lari will actually compete with cryptocurrencies in facilitating services—e.g., in retail sales.

NBG’s digital Lari is said to be swift and affordable compared to the incumbent payment modes. It is expected to also boost Georgian financial inclusion. Operating even with no internet connection, the digital Lari, says Lezhava, will work in technological compatibility with other solutions.

Earlier in April 2021, the NBG invited FinTech companies to “cooperate on the digital GEL project.”

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