Ukraine Completes Pilot Scheme for National Digital Currency

The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), has completed a pilot scheme for its national digital currency, the e-hryvnia. According to a February 22 report from Interfax Ukraine, the bank has been considering the concept for at least a year and began the pilot program in December 2018.

“At the end of last year we began a practical pilot, when the instrument was released for NBU employees under current methodology, in order to assess its practical use aspects and the ability of the central bank to realize future projects, as well as getting feedback from users,” Aleksandr Yablunivskiy, the head of NBU’s its payment networks and innovative growth department said.

The country currently heavily relies on cash payment, which is why its government is keen to support programs that encourage digital payments. This, however, has had an adverse effect on the industry. The NBU said that this has resulted in too many regulators being active in the space, halting the development of the market.

Yablunivskiy said that the bank will consider its next move as it analyzes the results of the pilot. He noted that the effort Ukraine has taken in conducting practical research, no matter how small it is, has put it ahead of other global leaders in national currencies.

He also noted that Ukraine’s e-hryvnia should not be confused with a cryptocurrency. “We are not talking about cryptocurrency, we are talking about a central bank digital currency. It can be implemented with both the technology of a centralized registry and a decentralized one,” he explained.

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