Egypt’s central bank revealed in a conference in Abu Dhabi yesterday, as reported by news outlet Amwal Al Ghad, that it is doing a study on cryptocurrency.
The Central Bank of Egypt‘s sub-governor for payment systems and information Ayman Hussein says the bank is conducting a research in collaboration with an undisclosed number of international financial institutions to develop a framework on how to issue digital currencies. Hussein calls it an ongoing “feasibility study”. This may likely lead to the issuing of an Egyptian pound-based cryptocurrency.
Hussein did not disclose the other parties involved in the studies, neither was any detail about the expectations revealed – whether it would be a bank-to-bank cryptocurrency based system as in the case of UAE or between banks and their clients.
According to the media outlet, Hussein refers to digital currency as having “several benefits” to include “lowering the cost of banknote issuance and use of cash”.
The Egyptian fintech market has been described as an emerging market as tendencies towards a cashless society are imminent alongside economic reforms in the country. A while back, IBM’s General Manager in Egypt Wael Abdoush said that “the entire world talks about this technology, so it is natural that it receives attention in Egypt”.
Egypt continues to expose itself to more fintech reform templates from around the globe and continues in this direction in the bid to achieve a cashless society. In recent times, it has taken significant moves towards achieving financial inclusion in a world so rapidly changing in the wake of a fintech revolution through blockchain.
Although, rather than throw caution to the wind, it took up a stance of anti-cryptocurrency when in January of this year, the Central Bank of Egypt warned against dealing in Bitcoin, following an official religious edict that considers Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as haram (forbidden).
Perhaps the thoughts about cryptocurrency markets in Egypt were being reconsidered as a result of the sporadic increase in the development and a possibility of regulation of blockchain ventures in other Islamic countries. Such development includes UAE performing its first Sharia-compliant bond transaction on the blockchain, and a proposed deployment of a Sharia-compliant cryptocurrency exchange.
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