Bhutan’s central bank has partnered with cross-border crypto payment platform Ripple to pilot a new central bank digital currency (CBDC).

The RMA says the pilot will help improve financial inclusion

The Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) of Bhutan says the pilot will help it achieve its mission to increase financial inclusion in the country to 85% by 2023 by boosting the adoption of digital payments.

The central bank will utilise Ripple’s CBDC Private Ledger, which gives financial institutions access to a network of CBDC ledgers that enables full settlement interoperability, while ensuring monetary and technological independence.

RMA deputy governor Yangchen Tshogyel says Ripple’s technology means the central bank can pilot retail, cross-border and wholesale payment use cases for a digital Ngultrum alongside its existing payments infrastructure.

The central bank launched the Global Interchange for Financial Transactions (GIFT) system in 2019, which enables the electronic transfer of large payments.

It also complements the government’s Electronic Public Expenditure Management System (e-PEMS) which aims to streamline transactions between the government and banks.

James Wallis, VP of Ripple’s central bank engagements, says the company will work with the RMA to “foster our shared values in creating a more sustainable, accessible, and financially inclusive reality”.