The Central Bank of Qatar (QCB) is reportedly exploring the possibility of launching a digital currency and issuing digital banking licenses.

According to Al-Anoud Abdullah Al-Muftah, head of financial technology at the Central Bank of Qatar, the central bank is soon expected to direct its future focus on a number of financial technology sectors.

Al Muftah indicated that Qatar’s Central Bank will also decide whether Qatar can create a central bank digital currency (CBDC). She explained:

“Every central bank should look into digital banks given their growing importance in the global marketplace. We also see the direction the market is moving towards digital currency. However, the question of whether we have a digital currency or not is still being studied.”
Commenting on Qatar’s regulatory environment, Al Muftah said that three companies in the payments sector are currently testing solutions with the central bank. She also mentioned that the Central Bank of Qatar is looking into other companies interested in taking advantage of regulatory protection.

The regulatory sandbox is a space where fintech companies can test new products, services, business models, and delivery mechanisms in the real world, while benefiting from an accelerated authorization process and regulatory oversight.

Meanwhile, Qatari private bank Dukhan Bank is exploring the possibility of establishing a digital bank in Qatar, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Digital Officer Narayanan Srinivasan told The Peninsula. However, Srinivasan warned that his institution would not create a digital bank until it had a better understanding of the economy. According to the report, Dukhan Bank is also considering the use of blockchain technology in the payments sector.

Related: Philippines launches CBD pilot

While virtual private currencies such as bitcoin (BTC) have grown in popularity and following, state-backed central bank currencies, often viewed as the antithesis of private cryptocurrencies, have rapidly accelerated. As of June 2019, 87 countries are currently developing their own digital currency, with only 14 countries completing the pilot phase, according to the Atlantic Council. Nine countries have already implemented the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Source: CoinTelegraph