Georgia CBDC Tracker

CBDC Information

Economic Information



Country Information

Freedom Rankings

Cato and Fraser Human Freedom Index:


Freedom House Index:


Reporters Without Borders Freedom Index:


Georgia is in the pilot phase. The National Bank of Georgia announced that it has been “collaborating with international and local fintech companies and financial institutions to address challenges related to technology, supervision, and financial issues using CBDCs” and that it was launching a pilot called the “Digital Lari project” or “Digital GEL Pilot Project.”

CBDC History and Development

In April 2021, the National Bank of Georgia announced that it had begun “considering launching a publicly available Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) to leverage new technologies to enhance efficiencies of the payment system and financial inclusion.” The central bank simultaneously announced that it was looking for partners in the private sector.

In May 2022, National Bank of George governor Koba Gvenetadze acknowledged that a CBDC is unlikely to be helpful for financial inclusion in Georgia. Instead, he said, “The value added of CBDC is in exploiting modern technologies in a way to make financial services more efficient, cheaper, and simpler for the end users and even to substitute some of the processes in non-financial sector, such as property registration for example.” In September 2022, governor Gvenetadze pivoted again to say that a CBDC would benefit monetary policy: “Interest rates in the economy may be better controlled, since interest-bearing CBDC will strengthen transmission of policy rate changes into all sorts of market interest rates.”

In January 2023, the National Bank of Georgia issued a call for private-sector companies interested in collaborating with the central bank on its CBDC project.

In September 2023, the National Bank of Georgia announced that it was moving forward with its CBDC project and would begin testing within a “limited access live pilot environment.” Following up on its previous calls for collaborators, the central bank announced that 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. were all being considered. Ultimately, however, the central bank selected Ripple to be its technology partner.

In December 2023, National Bank of Georgia acting governor Natia Turnava signed a memorandum of understanding between the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Economic Security Program and Mastercard Europe. The press release stated that “The partnership will include an information campaign to raise business and consumer awareness and increase confidence in electronic commerce. Technical expertise based on international best practices will support the development of Smart Contracts, the CBDC support tool.”

Human Rights and Civil Liberties Concerns

Georgia earned a 58 out of 100 in Freedom House’s 2023 Freedom in the World report. However, there are still many problems within the country. When it comes to the issuance or use of a CBDC, however, the most relevant issues are restrictions on freedom of expression, indefinite surveillance, and the persistence of government corruption. A CBDC could worsen these issues.

“Increasingly aggressive rhetoric from the authorities and defamation suits against critical journalists had a chilling effect on freedom of expression, as did the failure to effectively investigate crimes against journalists,” according to Amnesty International. In fact, this issue and others led Reporters Without Borders to downgrade Georgia in this year’s rating. 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.

Amnesty International also reported that the Georgian parliament overrode a presidential veto in order to adopt “controversial amendments giving law enforcement authorities increased powers to conduct covert surveillance. The new law extended the scope and duration of covert investigative activities and permitted an individual to be surveilled indefinitely without their knowledge.” Furthermore, Amnesty International reported that this surveillance was used against both critical media and NGOs. Unfortunately, a CBDC could be used to greatly expand surveillance by putting financial records on government databases by default.

“Corruption persists in [the] form of nepotism and cronyism in government hiring and procurement,” 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.

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.