Qatar flag with the inscription CBDC

Qatar exploring CBDC as it digitizes payments

Qatar is exploring a central bank digital currency (CBDC), a top official at the country’s central bank has revealed. The Middle Eastern nation is also weighing issuing licenses for digital banks as it seeks to digitize payments.

The Qatar Central Bank intends to soon reveal its direction on CBDCs, the bank’s head of fintech, Alanood Abdullah Al Muftah, revealed. Speaking to a local news outlet, Alanood said that the bank recognizes the need to keep up with digital payments as the world gradually moves away from cash payments.

“The direction will be clearer in the next couple of months. We’re currently trying to study the different aspects and verticals of fintech,” she said.

“Each central bank should study digital banks, considering their growing significance in the global market. We also see the direction of the market moving towards having a digital currency. However, it’s still being studied whether we’re having a digital currency or not,” she added.

The Qatar central bank is one of several dozen others exploring CBDCs without making any commitment to issuing a digital currency.

This month, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas revealed it’s also undertaking research on a digital peso under ‘Project CBDC-Ph.’ However, as Governor Benjamin Diokno made clear, it’s just a “pilot project to build organizational capacity and hands-on knowledge of CBDC design, architecture, technology, and policy implications,” and the bank has yet to decide if there’s any need for a CBDC. The Philippines is already at an advanced stage in cashless payments adoption, with three in four adults having a mobile wallet with GCash.

As Qatar explores CBDCs, its Middle Eastern neighbors are already taking huge strides in digital currency and blockchain adoption. Saudi Arabia is taking the lead, and during the recent LEAP 2022 event, blockchain was among the key topics of discussion. The BSV blockchain is finding a home in the country, with the BSV blockchain’s association already partnering with the government to launch the BSV Academy in the country, among other projects. The UAE is also quite active on blockchain adoption and is home to the Bitcoin SV Hub.

To learn more about central bank digital currencies and some of the design decisions that need to be considered when creating and launching it, read nChain’s CBDC playbook.

Watch: BSV Stories – Episode 4: The Middle East’s Blockchain Race

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