Azerbaijani press reports that a discussion has started in the country on whether it is possible to create a digital equivalent of the national currency, manat, and if it is, whether it has a chance to gain popularity among the citizens.

Experts say that there are no technological obstacles for the creation of a national cryptocurrency. However, the future of such currency if it is introduced is quite unclear as the whole system of electronic payments is not developed enough in Azerbaijan with the majority of people still preferring to use cash. Statistics shows that even the use of bank cards is now on the decline, which is clearly shown by the decreasing number of bank cards per person.

According to the head of the Centre for Sustainable Development Research Nariman Agayev, electronic currencies in general “will burst like a soap bubble” all around the globe.

Still, the country's Central Bank does not dismiss the technology and would rather explore the ways to regulate the use and issue of digital money.

The whole discussion emerged after a Russian digital payments platform Qiwi announced its intention to create a national electronic currency Bitruble. The reaction to the announcement varied from serious concern to eminent excitement with experts speculating whether a cryptocurrency backed by the energy resources could become a rival for the bitcoin digital currency or for the Russian ruble itself.

Russia is not the only country where companies have been considering creating a digital analogue for their national currencies. Last year, a national digital coin called Auroracoin was launched in Iceland (with no support from the Government of Iceland).


Maria Rudina