In a major announcement, the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) has shortlisted Ripple Labs along with eight other companies as a potential technology partner for its central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot project called “Digital GEL” partner.
Ripple shortlisted for nine
In an official press release on September 28, 2023, NBG disclosed its intention to introduce a “limited access live pilot environment” aimed at testing the technical feasibility and potential applications of the CBDC system. The bank emphasized its current “technology agnostic” approach, recommending an openness to the various technology pillars of digital GEL projects.
The nine companies on the list 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. The companies were recognized for demonstrating “sufficient technical potential, maturity, capabilities, relevant experience and desire to join the NBG.”
Ripple’s ties to the Digital GEL initiative are validating previous speculations, especially after a high-profile conference last year. In May 2022, CEO Brad Garlinghouse held discussions with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Deputy Prime Minister Levan Davitashvili in Davos.
At the time, Prime Minister Garibashvili highlighted Georgia’s ambitious blockchain integration roadmap, tweeting about a productive conversation with Garlinghouse and calling Georgia a leader in integrating blockchain into public services pioneer.
“Great chat with Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse! Sharing Georgia’s vision for the future of blockchain and regulation,” Garibashvili explain.
James Wallis, Ripple’s vice president of CBDC business, echoed the sentiments in the NBG press release, admit Progress on the Digital GEL initiative on X (formerly Twitter). Citing the National Bank of Georgia, he said: “It is a pleasure to be part of the next phase of the pilot project of the National Bank of Georgia’s Digital Lari project. The Digital GEL project is entering a new phase… After long studies and full consideration, the National Bank has announced 9 companies list.”
It is worth noting that Ripple’s selection does not mean that the US-based company will also be awarded the contract to implement Georgia’s CBDC. The announcement stated, “After the selection phase is completed, NBG will identify a technology partner to enter the pilot phase to test the CBDC platform in a live environment running for a limited time and evaluate actual use cases.” In addition, it is worth noting that the announcement did not mention XRP token.
Previously, Wallis also revealed Ripple’s pursuit of CBDC around the world. Ripple is reportedly in advanced negotiations with nearly 30 countries on CBDC solutions. Among them, Ripple has confirmed its participation in the pilot phase in countries such as the Republic of Palau, Montenegro, Bhutan, Hong Kong and Colombia.
At press time, XRP is showing a slight upward trend and is trading at $0.51076.
Featured image by Zura Narimanishvili/Unsplash, chart by TradingView.com