Qatar Plans To Issue Digital Bank Licenses and Join The CBDC Race: Report

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Representations of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Dash, Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin are seen in this illustration picture taken June 2, 2021.

Qatar’s central bank has plans to digitize most of its products and potentially develop and launch a CBDC, or central bank digital currency, joining the list of countries globally going digital. The central bank also plans to issue digital bank licenses. 

Speaking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of the 8th Doha Islamic Finance Conference last week, Alanood Abdullah Al-Muftah, the head of the finTech section at Qatar central bank, said the bank will soon have a plan on its future focus, particularly on different fintech verticals.

“In the next couple of months, there will be greater understanding about the future focus of QCB. Each central bank should study digital banks, considering their growing significance in the global market," Al Muftah said. 

"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." 

The Qatar government's vision is in line with an International Monetary Fund (IMF) study, which showed that 76% of Arab central banks are increasingly showing interest in adopting digital currencies.

Countries globally are going down the road of adopting digital currencies. Jamaica’s central bank noted earlier this month that it wants to airdrop $16 worth of its CBDC to the first 100,000 citizens that set up a wallet by April 1.

Canada’s central bank is also keen to explore the possibility of a CBDC while India expects its CBDC to arrive by the end of this year.

The U.S., however, has been lagging in the race. The country has had an indecisive approach for years without clearly determining whether it should launch a CBDC.
Illustration picture of cryptocurrencies

Photo: Reuters / FLORENCE LO

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