Qatar Plans to Issue Digital Bank Licenses and Explore a CBDC: Report

Qatar’s central bank plans to digitalize most of its products, including studying and potentially developing and launching a CBDC. One of the other directives from the institution involves issuing digital bank licenses.

Qatar Enters the CBDC Race

Speaking to The Peninsula at the 8th Doha Islamic Finance Conference, QCB’s Head of FinTech – Alanood Abdullah Al Muftah – outlined the organization’s new and digitalized direction. The bank has begun exploring various initiatives that will become clearer in the next few months.

“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.”

The executive further asserted the bank’s intentions to head down the central bank digital currency road, similar to many other central banks.

However, Al Muftah said the QCB is still a long way away from being ready to launch such a product. As of now, the bank is still in research mode to determine whether and how a CBDC could impact the local monetary landscape.

On the other hand, Narayanan Srinivasan, COO and Digital Officer at Dukhan Bank said during the same conference that his bank wants to establish a digital bank in Qatar. Additionally, they plan to employ blockchain technology for certain payment services.

CBDC Across the World

Aside from China, which has been among the global leaders in terms of CBDC development with multiple reported real-life tests, countless other nations have gone down that road in the past few years.

Jamaica’s central bank noted recently that it wants to airdrop $16 worth of its CBDC to the first 100,000 citizens that set up a wallet by April 1st.

Canada’s central banking authority teamed up with MIT to research the pros and cons of such a product, while India expects its CBDC to arrive by the end of 2022.

The United States has actually been at the end of the race. The country has had an indecisive approach for years without clearly determining whether it should launch a CBDC. Most recently, the Federal Reserve also weighed in on the positive and negative sides of a central bank digital currency.

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