Azerbaijan CBDC Tracker

CBDC Information

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Freedom Rankings

Cato and Fraser Human Freedom Index:


Freedom House Index:


Reporters Without Borders Freedom Index:


Azerbaijan is currently in the research phase, according to reporting in AZERNEWS. The Central Bank of Azerbaijan is researching a CBDC referred to as a digital manat. Central Bank of Azerbaijan official Rashad Gasimov said, “Digital currency can significantly boost transition to a cashless payment environment.”

Azerbaijan earned a 9 out of 100 in Freedom House’s 2023 Freedom in the World report. As Freedom House noted in the report, discrimination, corruption, and restrictions on opposing voices are major issues for Azerbaijan. The issuance or adoption of a CBDC in Azerbaijan could worsen these issues.

“The political system does not allow women or minority groups to organize independently or advocate for their respective interests [and the] government has worked to stifle public expressions of ethnic Talysh and Lezgin identity, among other targeted groups,” according to Freedom House. Unfortunately, CBDCs are particularly concerning with this issue because they could be used to identify and surveil members of discriminated communities.

“Corruption is pervasive. In the absence of a free press and independent judiciary, officials are held accountable for corrupt behavior only when it suits the needs of a more powerful or well-connected figure,” according to Freedom House. The existence of pervasive corruption is a major concern with CBDCs because it calls into question any promises that might be made by the government to limit surveillance, control, or other risks of CBDCs. Furthermore, the existence of corruption calls into question whether CBDC policies might be designed to exert political favoritism through subsidies, price controls, or other targeted restrictions.

“Constitutional guarantees for press freedom are routinely and systematically violated, as the government works to maintain a tight grip on the information landscape,” according to Freedom House. For example, Freedom House reported that “Journalists face detention or imprisonment on false charges, along with travel bans and surveillance.” In fact, it was also reported that “Azerbaijani journalists were among those targeted with the Pegasus spyware tool, which was likely supplied to the Azerbaijani government.” Unfortunately, a CBDC could be used as another tool in this effort. Across the world, governments have often turned to freezing and seizing the money of activists, political rivals, and protestors to undermine the opposition. A CBDC would make such initiatives easier by allowing governments to take direct control of each citizen’s finances.

For additional information on concerns regarding violations of human rights and civil liberties, see the following reports by Amnesty International, Financial Tyranny Index, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, Privacy International, and the U.S. Department of State. For additional information on concerns regarding the risks of CBDCs, see the following webpage and report by the Cato Institute: The Risks of CBDCs and Central Bank Digital Currency: Assessing the Risks and Dispelling the Myths.

For additional information regarding metrics, the methodology page explains each of the data points and provides their respective sources.