Qatar, with a population of 2.8 million, will join a growing group of countries testing the concept of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). Qatar Central Bank (QCB) is currently “in the process of establishing” to issue its digital currency.
The Governor of the Qatar Central Bank, Sheikh Bandar bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, revealed, on Tuesday, during the “Inflation Test” session at the Qatar Economic Forum, that the bank is working on finding technical solutions for its commercial customers. Al-Thani explained that the project is now in its early stages:
Several central banks are now considering issuing a central bank digital currency, and we are no exception to this. But we are still in the establishment stage. We are evaluating the pros and cons of issuing central bank digital currency and finding the right and proper technology and platform for issuing our own central bank digital currency.”
Currently, encryption is a technical innovation. This could take us into a new era of fast, affordable and accessible financial services. However, those crypto assets that are not confirmed by the monetary authority may be less credible.”
The first reports about the Qatar Central Bank exploring the possibility of central bank currencies appeared in March 2022. At that time, the head of the financial technology department at the Qatar Central Bank, Al-Anoud Abdullah Al-Muftah, revealed that the bank is looking into this concept due to the global trend.
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Currently, more than 100 countries worldwide have expressed interest and/or have begun researching and developing CBDCs. The United Arab Emirates, Qatar’s main competitor in the Gulf region, launched the CBDC track as part of its 2023-2026 technology strategy in 2021.
In the same year, it announced a joint venture for cross-border CBDC payments with the central banks of Thailand, Hong Kong and China, as well as the Bank for International Settlements.