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 said.
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 of blockchain.
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 cases.