Ukraine Wants A National Digital Currency, Not Its Own Cryptocurrency

The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has said it is “considering” introducing a digital version of its national currency, the hryvnia, that is not based on Blockchain, at least for now.

The central bank reported in a Facebook post Thursday Jan. 11 that it is studying “new and innovative technologies” as part of the country’s so-called Cashless Economy project, of which the potential e-hryvnia is a part.

The NBU drew a distinction between the digital currency it has in mind and a state-issued cryptocurrency, which would by definition be based on Blockchain technology:

“However, the National Bank would like to specify that what is meant here is the possible introduction of an electronic hryvnia, not our own cryptocurrency.”

The NBU also noted that the possibility of basing their proposed e-hryvnia on Blockchain is still up for discussion.

The plans for a digital hryvnia versus a national cryptocurrency contrast with activities across the border in Russia, whose government has been flirting with the idea of a Blockchain-based CryptoRuble since 2015.

In addition, fellow CIS member Belarus has proclaimed its intention to become a cryptocurrency-friendly zone, facilitating easier regulated exchange and attracting foreign investment.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s cryptocurrency scene made headlines for more nefarious reasons in December 2017. The sudden police raid of crypto journal ForkLog in Odessa was followed by the kidnapping of EXMO exchange director Pavel Lerner in Kiev. Lerner has since reportedly been released for a $1 mln ransom.

Ongoing regulatory moves by lawmakers this week have also seen the creation of a dedicated working group to investigate how Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies should be treated under Ukrainian law.

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