Tunisia is looking to be a pioneer in implementing blockchain as the country’s central bank explores the use of the technology for a national digital dinar, reports the Asia Times.
The Banque Centrale Tunisienne (BCT) and its newly appointed
governor Marouane El Abassi are currently working with Walid Driss, the
Tunis-based founder and CEO of DigitUS Tech, on the project. The Tunisian
central bank has set up a working group to study blockchain, digital payments
and cryptocurrencies overseen by Abassi and Driss serving as a founding member.
A blockchain-based, central bank digital currency could
combat money-laundering, decrease the country’s gray economy, and at the same
time, empower women and weaker segments of the Tunisian population, Abassi and
Driss previously helped La Poste Tunisienne, the North
African country’s postal service, to launch
a blockchain-based digital payment system called DigiCash.
Tunisia follows on the footsteps of other countries looking
to leverage blockchain technology to become cashless economies. The Swedish
central bank (Sveriges Riksbank) is investigating a blockchain-based “e-krona”
to serve as an alternative form of central bank-issued money as cash usage in
the country declines. Almost 90% of financial transactions in Sweden are
already cashless. Similarly, neighboring Finland predicts
it will become completely cashless by 2029.
In the Caribbean,
the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank is exploring the suitability of a
distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based Eastern Caribbean currency to pursue
multiple goals such as advancing economic growth, payments system resilience
and financial inclusion.
According to a January 2019 report by the Bank for
International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, Switzerland, at least 40 central
banks around the world are currently, or soon will be, research and
experimenting with central bank digital currency (CBDC) and other applications
A recent research
paper by the World Economic Forum claims that central banks are
particularly interested in the potential of blockchain in areas that include digital
know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money-laundering (AML) processes, trade
finance, bond auction, issuance and other lifecycle processes, information
exchange and data sharing, interbank payments and settlements, among other use