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In a significant announcement, the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) has shortlisted Ripple Labs alongside eight other firms as potential technology partners for its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) pilot project titled “Digital GEL.”
Ripple Is In The Shortlist Of Nine
In an official press release dated September 28, 2023, the NBG disclosed its intent to introduce a “Limited Access Live Pilot Environment” aiming to test the technological feasibility and potential applications of a CBDC system. The bank emphasized its current “technologically agnostic” approach, suggesting an openness to a variety of technological backbones for the Digital GEL project.
The nine companies that made the cut are AUGENTIC GmbH, Bitt Inc., Broxus Holdings Ltd., Currency Network Ltd., DCM Corp Limited, eCurrency Mint Inc., FARI Solutions Ltd., Ripple Labs, Inc., and Sovereign Wallet Co., Ltd. Each of these companies was recognized for showcasing “sufficient technology potential, maturity, capacity, relevant experience, and desire to join” the NBG’s endeavor.
Ripple’s connection to the Digital GEL initiative is validating previous speculations, particularly after a high-profile meeting last year. In May 2022, CEO Brad Garlinghouse held discussions with Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Vice Prime Minister Levan Davitashvili in Davos.
At the time, Prime Minister Garibashvili highlighted Georgia’s ambitious roadmap for blockchain integration, tweeting about the productive discourse with Garlinghouse and labeling Georgia as a pioneer in assimilating blockchain into public services.
“Great talks w/ Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse! Shared Georgia’s vision on the future of blockchain and regulation,” Garibashvili said.
Echoing the sentiments from the NBG press release, Ripple’s Vice President for CBDC Engagement, James Wallis, acknowledged the progression of the Digital GEL initiative on X (formerly Twitter). He quoted the National Bank of Georgia, stating, “Great to be part of the next stage of the Pilot Project of the National Bank of Georgia Digital Lari project. The digital GEL project is entering a new stage… After long-term research and due consideration, the National Bank publishes a list of 9 companies.”
Remarkably, the selection of Ripple does not yet mean that the US headquartered company will also be awarded the contract to implement the Georgian CBDC. The announcement states, “upon selection stage completion, NBG will identify a single technology partner to move to the pilot stage to test the CBDC platform in a limited-time run live environment and evaluate the practical use cases.” Also, it is important to note that the XRP token is not mentioned in the announcement.
Previously, Wallis had also shed light on Ripple’s global CBDC pursuits. Ripple is reportedly in advanced talks with nearly 30 countries regarding their CBDC solutions. Among these, Ripple’s involvement in pilot stages with countries such as the Republic of Palau, Montenegro, Bhutan, Hong Kong, and Colombia has been confirmed.
At press time, XRP showed a slight uptrend, trading at $0.51076.
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