Iran CBDC Tracker

CBDC Information

CBDC Status


CBDC Launch


CBDC Model


CBDC Issued


Economic Information

Monetary Base


Cash Issued




Country Information

Freedom Rankings

Cato and Fraser Human Freedom Index:


Freedom House Index:


Reporters Without Borders Freedom Index:


Iran is in the launched phase. The Central Bank of Iran announced in September 2022 that it was launching a CBDC pilot involving the public and two stores. Given this pilot involves the general public and goes beyond a closed, experimental environment, Iran is considered to be in the launched phase. The Central Bank of Iran later noted that it could open the CBDC to the entire public in as little as two weeks.

The Central Bank of Iran said that it is pursuing a CBDC (sometimes referred to as the digital rial, crypto rial, or Ramzrial) with the aim of bringing programmability and security to cash. The Central Bank of Iran said that the CBDC “has been designed in a way that it is easy to track and even if the data on the smart phones are hacked, the [CBDC] can be tracked.” Other goals have included reducing tax evasion and money laundering.

In September of 2022, the Central Bank of Iran launched a CBDC pilot where 10,000,000,000 rials (~236,811 U.S. dollars) were given to a limited group of people under the supervision of Melli Bank and Mellat Bank. For the pilot, two stores were able to accept the CBDC.

In January of 2023, it was reported in the Financial Tribune that the Central Bank of Iran said that it would make the CBDC available to the public within two weeks. An unnamed official said that all banks and credit unions were to start offering digital wallets for using the CBDC on February 7, 2023. However, later reporting in the Financial Tribune said the Central Bank of Iran was tasked with finalizing the CBDC by March 2024.

From a technical standpoint, it has been reported that the CBDC would operate on a platform called Borna that was developed using Hyperledger Fabric. The CBDC itself was developed by Iran’s Informatics Services Corporation. And according to reporting in Iran Wire, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence also had a hand in the design of the CBDC. However, the Central Bank of Iran maintains complete control of distributing the CBDC and maintaining the ledger.

From a legal standpoint, it’s unclear if the Central Bank of Iran is legally allowed to move forward and launch its CBDC publicly. Ali Kherzrian, a parliamentary spokesperson for Iran’s Article 90 Commission, said there was no legal basis for the central bank to enter this arena and any plans to do so should be dropped.

Iran is rated as one of the least free countries in Freedom House’s 2023 Freedom in the World report. Issues with government oppression and corruption remain widespread. Coupled with the centralized power of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a CBDC could exacerbate the situation in Iran.

Government oppression is all too common in Iran. According to Amnesty International, “authorities ramped up already suffocating levels of repression, leaving no space for peaceful dissent.” For example, the “authorities repeatedly shut off or disrupted internet and mobile phone networks during protests to suppress mobilization and hide the scale of violations by security forces.” This account is concerning for two reasons. First, targeting internet networks is similar to targeting financial networks. With a CBDC in hand, it is very likely that authorities would try to cut off funding for protests. Second, the effort to hide abuses could make using a CBDC for control more likely as well. With CBDC controls, there is no stunning photo of an officer hitting a protestor or tear gas in the streets. It could be used to restrict citizens in a largely invisible fashion.

Government corruption is another issue that could be worsened by the presence of a CBDC. Freedom House reports that “Ultimate power rests in the hands of the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the unelected institutions under his control,” and that “Corruption remains endemic at all levels of the bureaucracy, despite regular calls by authorities to tackle the problem.” 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.