The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has introduced a draft concept for its central bank digital currency (CBDC) candidate digital hryvnia, or e-hryvnia.
Ukraine’s central bank on Nov. 28 released a statement on the concept of e-hryvnia, which aims to perform all the functions of money by supplementing cash and non-cash forms of the hryvnia as its key purpose.
The NBU said it has presented the e-hryvnia concept and continues developing the CBDC project with participants of the virtual assets market, payment firms and state bodies.
According to the announcement, the central bank is currently considering and developing three possible CBDC options, depending on design and main characteristics.
The first option describes the e-hryvnia for retail non-cash payments with the possible functionality of “programmed” money through smart contracts. A retail e-hryvnia would enable the implementation of targeted social payments and the reduction of government expenditures on administration, the NBU said.
The second CBDC option envisions the e-hryvnia available for usage in operations related to cryptocurrency exchange, issuance and other virtual asset operations. “The e-hryvnia can become one of the key elements of quality infrastructure development for the virtual assets market in Ukraine,” the announcement notes.
The third option includes the e-hryvnia to enable cross-border payments in order to provide faster, cheaper and more transparent global transactions.
“The development and implementation of the e-hryvnia can be the next step in the evolution of the payment infrastructure of Ukraine,” Oleksii Shaban, director of NBU payment systems and innovative development department, said in the statement. He added that a Ukrainian CBDC could have a positive impact on ensuring economic security and strengthening the monetary sovereignty of the state, as well as e sustainable economic growth.
According to the announcement, the Ukrainian Intellectual Property Institute registered the trademark “e-hryvnia” for the NBU in October 2022.
As previously reported, the NBU has been actively studying the possibility of issuing a CBDC in recent years, hiring blockchain developers and cooperating with major industry projects like the Stellar Development Foundation.
According to the regulator, the NBU launched a pilot project to issue the e-hryvnia for blockchain-based retail payments back in 2018.