Earlier this week, the Fantom Foundation announced that it was working on a central bank digital currency (CBDC) solution for Tajikistan. The National Bank of Tajikistan has denied the news and published the following statement:
“The information on introduction of Digital Currency Platform (CBDC) through the National Bank of Tajikistan in the Republic of Tajikistan is incorrect and untrue, therefore the National Bank of Tajikistan has already sent a letter to the Fantom Foundation concerning the disclosure of false information.”
Fantom’s announcement said it had signed an agreement with one of Tajikistan’s largest banks, OJSC Orienbank. However, it also stated that together they would “work with the National Bank of Tajikistan to build commercial and retail payment networks for the E-SOM, the digitized version of the Tajikistani Somoni.”
There was a hint later in the announcement that maybe it didn’t have the central bank’s blessing because it said, “Following initial trials, Orienbank and Fantom will seek to roll out the product nationally under the sandbox regulation of National Bank of Tajikistan.” It’s usually commercial solutions that work in a sandbox to coordinate with regulators.
Fantom has a top-50 cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of almost $3.5 billion. It’s not the first time this sort of claim of a CBDC deal has happened. In the other instance, the organization also had a coin.
In 2019 Ledger Insights was caught out by a report by the Russian news agency Tass when it said Russian startup Universa had a deal for a Tunisian CBDC. The central bank did not respond to our requests for confirmation but denied the claim a few days later.
It turned out Universa had created a stablecoin which it demonstrated at a Tunisian conference where the central bank was present. Universa denied claiming it was a CBDC. However, it retweeted the Tass news report and failed to refute it when we first contacted them, despite requesting another change in our article.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the continent, the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan announced last week that it is partnering with Ripple in the first stage of its CBDC pilot. Another recent collaboration was signed between the Bank of Ghana and Germany’s Giesecke+Devrient (G+D) Currency Technology, with the former hoping to commence a pilot of its e-Cedi in the near future.