The 2.8 million nation of Qatar is set to join a growing number of countries experimenting with the concept of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The Central Bank of Qatar (QCB) is currently “in the early stages” of issuing its digital currency.

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On June 21, during the “Inflation Test” session at the Qatar Economic Forum, QCB Governor Sheikh Bandar bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani disclosed that the bank is working on finding technology solutions for its CBDC. The project is currently at an early stage, Al Thani clarified:

“Many central banks are now considering issuing CBDCs, and we are no exception. But we are still in the founding stage. We evaluate the pros and cons of issuing a CBDC and find the right and right technology and platform for issuing our CBDC.”

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“Currently, cryptocurrencies are a technological innovation. This could lead us into a new era of faster, cheaper and more accessible financial services. However, those crypto assets that are not backed by monetary authority may be less trustworthy,” he added.

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The first reports that QCB was looking into CBDC opportunities appeared in March 2022. Then the head of financial technology at QCB Alanud Abdullah Al Muftah said that the bank is exploring this concept in connection with the global trend.

“CBDC is a natural evolution,” says HyperLedger director Barbosa.

Currently, over 100 countries around the world have expressed their interest and/or started researching and developing CBDCs. Qatar’s main rival in the Gulf region, the United Arab Emirates, launched its CBDC track back in 2021 as part of its 2023-2026 technology strategy.

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