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NBU and the Ministry of Digital Transformation compete for e-hryvnia that does not exist yet

Ukraine prepares to issue e-hryvnia. Photo: ITC

Ukraine prepares to issue e-hryvnia. Photo: ITC

We are launching one of the pilot electronic money projects that will allow us to explore the potential of using technological solutions in the development of e-hryvnia. This is stated in a report posted yesterday, December 15, by the Ministry of Digital Transformation on its website.

What project Ministry of Digital Transformation is implementing

The pilot project is being implemented by TAScombank, the fintech company Bitt, and the Stellar Development Foundation with the support of the Ministry of Digital Transformation.

"This project will allow the Ministry of Digital Transformation and the National Bank to analyze the effectiveness of technological solutions that can be used in the e-hryvnia development. The pilot will become an important driver of payment innovations in the banking sector of Ukraine," Oleksandr Bornyakov, Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation for IT Development, says.

Volodymyr Dubey, the Chairman of the Board of TAScombank, adds that such technological solutions will allow bringing together the banking system and the blockchain infrastructure and create an ecosystem that will contain the full range of banking products and transactions with electronic money on the Stellar blockchain.

The results of the project are expected to be obtained in 2022.

National Bank’s reaction to the Ministry of Digital Transformation announcement

About an hour after the information about the project appeared, the NBU published its announcement. It says that the National Bank welcomes a pilot project to test the issuance of electronic money based on blockchain technology. However, this pilot project is not directly related to the issue of e-hryvnia, the digital currency of the National Bank of Ukraine.

"According to the new legislation, only the National Bank can be the issuer of e-hryvnia," Shaban, the Deputy Chairman of the NBU, noted. According to him, the National Bank will familiarize itself with the pilot project results. "This will help us explore the potential of using blockchain technology with programming functionality in the formation of the e-hryvnia concept," Shaban assured.

The NBU Deputy Chairman added that the National Bank, together with the Ministry of Digital Transformation and other state institutions, is actively working on creating the e-hryvnia concept. Its purpose is to determine the best ways to use (use cases) and characteristics of e-hryvnia, the architecture of its issuance, the technological platform, etc. The concept should be completed by the end of 2022.

After creating the concept, the National Bank will be able to develop a regulatory framework and formulate requirements for the technology for issuing its digital currency, as well as select a technology provider for conducting the e-hryvnia test issuance. The choice of such a provider is promised to be made in the course of a transparent competitive selection (approximately in 2023).

At present, the Ukrainian Institute of Intellectual Property (Ukrpatent) is registering the e-hryvnia trademark on the proposal of the National Bank.

The NBU believes that this term can only be used to define the digital currency issued by the National Bank. It does not apply to other payment instruments (electronic money, bonus programs, etc.).

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