‘Digital Shekel’: Israel Becomes Latest Nation to Mull State-Backed Cryptocurrency

By Josiah Wilmoth

Israel has joined the growing list of countries whose central banks are holding high-level discussions about whether to issue state-backed cryptocurrencies built using some of the technologies that underpin bitcoin. Tentatively named the digital shekel, the project could enter formal development as soon as 2019.

‘Digital Shekel’: Israel Becomes Latest Nation to Mull State-Backed Cryptocurrency

Although many people remain skeptical that a decentralized cryptocurrency like bitcoin will ever prove to be a stable currency, few deny that its underlying technologies — the most prominent of which is the blockchain — have the potential to revolutionize mainstream finance.

To wit, many central banks — most notably in China and Russia — have begun researching how to issue their own state-backed cryptocurrencies to benefit from the efficiency of blockchain technology without sacrificing control over the monetary supply.

Israel is the latest nation to jump on that bandwagon, according to recent reports from the Jerusalem Post and Reuters.

“Central banks around the world are examining (the use of digital currencies) so we should as well,” an anonymous source at the Bank of Israel told Reuters.

The currency, dubbed the “digital shekel,” would be pegged to the value of Israel’s physical shekel, and it would be stored in a digital wallet, much like bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

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