Turkey will start piloting the previously unknown digital currency in the second half of 2021, announced Naci Ağbal, the country’s chief central banker.

Comments by Ağbal put Turkey on the fast track to a digital currency central bank (CBDC). Turkey seldom discloses any digital currency aspirations; the Bank for International Settlements, known in monetary circles as the central banks’ bank, does not even report Turkey in its operating database as having an active CBDC project.

Turkey is now angling for more CBDC projects to conquer. While according to the BIS, 80% of central banks consider national digital currencies, only a handful (Sweden, China, the Bahamas) have advanced to the pilot phase/soft launch. Details have not yet been made public of Turkey’s own CBDC initiative. In September, Koin Bülteni, a local crypto source, announced that the central bank was recruiting experts for its research and development team on digital currencies.

The CBDC alternative is also being considered by major economies, including Japan, the US, and many European countries.

The digital yuan tests have been widely popular across the country so far. Last month, over $300 million was transacted, and last week’s test, a “tap” payment feature that mimics cash payments, saw a record $3 million in weekend transactions.

Zhou Xiaochuan, the former PBoC governor, noted that:

“Some countries are worried about the internationalization of yuan. We can’t push them on sensitive issues, and we can’t impose our will. We must avoid the perception of great-power chauvinism.”

The People’s Bank of China has been working on its national digital currency for the last five to six years.

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