Qatar Doubles Down on its CBDC Plans

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The Governor of Qatar’s central bank – Sheikh Bandar – revealed that the financial institution intends to issue a digital form of its national currency. To do so, it must find the appropriate technology and consider the possible benefits and drawbacks of such an initiative, he added.

Still in ‘Foundation Stage’

Launching a CBDC has turned into a mission for numerous global central banks, and Qatar seems to be part of that club. In a recent appearance, Governor Bandar asserted that such a development is indeed on the agenda, but it will be thoroughly reviewed beforehand:

“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.”

The Governor also touched upon cryptocurrencies and the merits they could provide. In his view, they are a “technology innovation” which has the potential to create a 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 warned.

It is worth noting, though, that Qatar Investment Authority does not think that highly of digital assets. Nonetheless, earlier this week, CEO Mansoor Al Mahmoud said the organization is intrigued by their underlying mechanism – blockchain technology:

“Our team in the technology space is exploring opportunities in the blockchain. This is the space that we’re interested in, not the currency itself.”

Qatar’s Direction Into Digitization

Qatar’s central bank displayed its plans to digitalize most of its products in March this year. Back then, Alanood Abdullah Al Muftah – Head of FinTech at the institution – stated:

“We’re trying to study the different aspects and verticals of fintech. We’re trying to set our direction. Each central bank should study digital banks, considering their growing significance in the global market.”

He further declared the bank’s intention to launch a CBDC, but such an endeavor is far away from becoming live. The authorities need to examine how the product could impact the local financial landscape and then move to action, Al Muftah said.

Narayanan Srinivasan – COO and Digital Officer at Dukhan Bank – also gave his two cents on the matter, saying his organization is willing to establish a digital bank in Qatar. Employing blockchain technology for certain payment services is another goal to be achieved, he concluded.

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