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Turkey’s Central Bank Assesses First Phase of Digital Lira

The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) has unveiled a comprehensive report evaluating the initial phase of its ambitious Central Bank Digital Turkish Lira Research and Development (R&D) Project.

This important publication, which had previously been available only in Turkish, has now been translated into English, marking a major step in transparency and accessibility.

The report delves into the intricacies of the project’s first phase, which encompassed the development of various crucial components, including the digital identity system, digital currency system, abstraction layer, service layer, and wallet infrastructure.

Notably, the abstraction layer was highlighted for its role in supporting the modularity of the entire system, facilitating seamless integration and potential future upgrades.

Initiated in 2021, the project saw its inaugural trial transactions with the digital Turkish lira conducted in 2022, marking a milestone in Turkey’s exploration of CBDC implementation. A key aspect of the project’s architecture is its emphasis on independence among its components, which enables easy replacement and ensures operational efficiency.

Operating within the Digital Turkish Lira Collaboration Platform, in partnership with the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Türkiye, as well as Aselsan and Havelsan companies, the CBRT has laid the foundation for a robust and collaborative ecosystem to drive innovation in the digital currency space.

The digital Turkish lira has been conceptualized as an intermediated retail CBDC, with separate considerations for wholesale payments. Emphasizing interoperability and complementarity, the CBRT aims to ensure that the new system seamlessly integrates with existing financial infrastructure without disrupting economic processes.

In line with its commitment to privacy and security, the CBRT has prioritized programmable payments over programmable money. By enabling the creation of contract templates with conditional clauses, the system empowers public institutions and licensed entities to participate in contract development, approval, and deployment while safeguarding privacy through self-sovereign identity features.

Looking ahead, Phase II of the project will delve into smart payments and offline transactions, addressing legal, economic, and technical considerations. However, the protocol for offline payments is yet to be finalized, and no specific timeline has been provided for the second phase.

It is worth noting that Turkey is also actively working on establishing a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. Addressing weaknesses in crypto regulation is seen as pivotal in addressing concerns that have kept the country on the Financial Action Task Force’s gray list.

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