The 2.8-million nation of Qatar is going to join a growing range of countries, experimenting with the central bank digital currency (CBDC) concept. The Qatar Central Bank (QCB) is currently “in the foundation stage” of issuing its digital currency.
On June 21, during the “Inflation Test” session at the Qatar Economic Forum, QCB Governor Sheikh Bandar bin Mohammed bin Saoud Al Thani revealed that the bank is working to find technological solutions for its CBDC. Right now the project is in its early stage, Al Thani specified:
“Many central banks are now considering to issue CBDC, and we are not an exception to that. But we are still in foundation stage. We are evaluating the pros and cons of issuing CBDC and to find the proper and the right technology and platform to issue our CBDC.”
“Currently, crypto are a technology innovation. It might take us to new era of fast, cheap, and more accessible financial services. However, those crypto assets which are not underlined by monetary authority might be less credible,” he added.
First reports about the QCB exploring the possibility of CBDCs surfaced in March 2022. Back then, the head of the fintech section at QCB, Alanood Abdullah Al Muftah, disclosed that the bank is researching the concept due to the global trend.
At the moment, more than 100 countries globally have expressed their interest and/or started to research and develop CBDCs. Qatar’s main competitor in the Gulf region, the United Arab Emirates, launched its CBDC track as a part of its 2023–2026 tech strategy back in 2021.
In the same year, it announced a joint project of cross-border CBDC payments with the central banks of Thailand, Hong Kong and China, as well as the Bank of International Settlements.