Qatar Central Bank in ‘foundation stage‘ of launching digital currency

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The 2.8‑million nation of Qatar is going to join a grow­ing range of coun­tries, exper­i­ment­ing with the cen­tral bank dig­i­tal cur­ren­cy (CBDC) con­cept. The Qatar Cen­tral Bank (QCB) is cur­rent­ly “in the foun­da­tion stage” of issu­ing its dig­i­tal currency. 

On June 21, dur­ing the “Infla­tion Test” ses­sion at the Qatar Eco­nom­ic Forum, QCB Gov­er­nor Sheikh Ban­dar bin Mohammed bin Saoud Al Thani revealed that the bank is work­ing to find tech­no­log­i­cal solu­tions for its CBDC. Right now the project is in its ear­ly stage, Al Thani specified:

“Many cen­tral banks are now con­sid­er­ing to issue CBDC, and we are not an excep­tion to that. But we are still in foun­da­tion stage. We are eval­u­at­ing the pros and cons of issu­ing CBDC and to find the prop­er and the right tech­nol­o­gy and plat­form to issue our CBDC.”

“Cur­rent­ly, cryp­to are a tech­nol­o­gy inno­va­tion. It might take us to new era of fast, cheap, and more acces­si­ble finan­cial ser­vices. How­ev­er, those cryp­to assets which are not under­lined by mon­e­tary author­i­ty might be less cred­i­ble,” he added.

First reports about the QCB explor­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of CBD­Cs sur­faced in March 2022. Back then, the head of the fin­tech sec­tion at QCB, Alanood Abdul­lah Al Muf­tah, dis­closed that the bank is research­ing the con­cept due to the glob­al trend. 

Relat­ed: ‘CBD­Cs are the nat­ur­al evo­lu­tion,’ says Hyper­Ledger direc­tor Barbosa

At the moment, more than 100 coun­tries glob­al­ly have expressed their inter­est and/or start­ed to research and devel­op CBD­Cs. Qatar’s main com­peti­tor in the Gulf region, the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates, launched its CBDC track as a part of its 2023–2026 tech strat­e­gy back in 2021. 

In the same year, it announced a joint project of cross-bor­der CBDC pay­ments with the cen­tral banks of Thai­land, Hong Kong and Chi­na, as well as the Bank of Inter­na­tion­al Settlements.

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