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Qatar explores digital banks and central bank digital currencies

The Qatar Central Bank (QCB) is said to be investigating the possibility of launching a digital currency and issuing digital banking licenses.

According to the Head of the Fintech Department at Qatar Central Bank, Al-Anoud Abdullah Al-Muftah, the central bank is expected to set a direction for its future focus soon on a range of FinTech sectors.

Al-Muftah indicated that the Qatar Central Bank will also determine if Qatar can create a central bank digital currency (CBDC). She explained:

“Every central bank should study digital banks, bearing in mind their increasing importance in the global market. We also see the trend of the market towards having a digital currency. However, it is still being studied whether or not we will have a digital currency.”

Commenting on the regulatory environment in Qatar, Al-Muftah said that three companies in the payments sector are currently testing solutions with the central bank. She also stated that the Qatar Central Bank is studying other companies interested in using the regulatory protection environment.

A regulatory sandbox is a space where fintech companies can test new products, services, business models, and delivery mechanisms in a real environment while benefiting from an accelerated delegation process and supervisory oversight.

Meanwhile, Qatari private bank Dukhan is studying the possibility of setting up a digital bank in Qatar, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Digital Officer Narayanan Srinivasan told The Peninsula. However, Srinivasan warned that his institution will not build a digital bank until a better understanding of its economy is achieved. According to the report, Dukhan Bank is also considering blockchain technology in the payments sector.

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