Israel’s Central Bank Considers Issuing a Digital Shekel

The central bank is to focus more effort on CBDCs as a potential benefit to payments and the digital economy.

AccessTimeIconMay 11, 2021 at 3:15 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:53 p.m. UTC

The Bank of Israel is accelerating its research into central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and making preparations in case it decides to issue a digital shekel.

  • The bank is readying an action plan so it will be prepared should the benefits of issuing a national digital currency outweigh the costs and potential risks, the central bank said Tuesday.
  • It believes a CBDC would allow a payment system that could adapt to a digital economy, as well as create an efficient and inexpensive infrastructure for cross-border payments.
  • The central bank further called for comments on its draft model, which it said does not represent any decision regarding the currency's characteristics, but is merely the basis for a discussion.
  • The Bank of Israel has been discussing a CBDC since 2017.
  • Elsewhere, Sweden's Riksbank and the European Central Bank are actively researching and developing their own digital currencies in preparation for expected launches in the next four to five years.
  • The U.S. Federal Reserve is taking a more cautious approach and carrying out experiments with no firm commitment to date.
  • Then there's China, which is reportedly close to the launch of its digital yuan and is already testing the CBDC with commercial institutions and the public. 

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