The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) says a pilot version of its digital currency is ready to be rolled out after two years of works and studies on the program.
Head of CBI’s information services company Abutaleb Najafi said on Wednesday that the digital currency will be tested in a trial phase with banks, payment service providers and consumers.
“We carried out about two years of continuous work on the platform and on the infrastructure needed for CBI’s cryptocurrency and now its pilot version is ready,” Najafi was quoted as saying by Mehr news agency.
The CBI hopes the pilot platform could enable the bank to finally launch a digital form of Iran’s national currency the rial.
The new currency will serve as an alternative to physical cash, a move which authorities believe could further encourage people to use digitized payment infrastructure in Iran.
Najafi said that the CBI will need at least one more year to examine the economic, social and legal aspects of launching the digital rial, adding that the project could entail massive risk assessment procedures.
“A document has been compiled in the CBI on the issue and we have created the platform which would apparently mature within a year,” he said.
The official said state-run and private banks in Iran are expected to launch services that allows customers to open wallets to use the digital currency during the trial phase.
Iran’s efforts to create an official digital currency comes amid a spread of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin in the country.
The Iranian government has maintained a ban on trade of cryptocurrecnies while cracking down on illegal mining activities related to those currencies.