The Central Bank of Iran Will Launch a Public CBDC Pilot This Month

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The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) is initiating a public pilot for a national digital currency, focused on domestic micropayments.

The digital rial, Iran’s central bank digital currency (CBDC), will be available to customers of the banking system and tourists on Kish Island, starting on June 21.

Kish Island is the second largest island in the Persian Gulf, with a land area of 92 square kilometers and a popular tourist destination welcoming approximately 12 million visitors annually.

The island also operates as one of Iran’s free trade zones, allowing visa exemptions for tourists from various countries.

In recent years, there have been discussions about establishing Kish Island as a hub for domestic and international cryptocurrency exchanges, proposed by Iran’s former Minister of Information and Communications, Muhammad Javad Azari.

The digital rial public rollout on Kish Island marks an expansion of the pilot program that began in 2023, according to the CBI.

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