Lebanon Announces Launch of National Digital Currency

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BEIRUT — Lebanon’s central bank, Banque du Liban (BDL), announced Thursday that the nation is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency that will “be available in the next few years.”

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“We understand that electronic currency will play a prominent role in the future. But BDL must first make the necessary arrangement before taking this step and develop [a] protection system from CYBER CRIME. Both the Special Investigation Commission and Banking Control Commission are cooperating to prevent such electronic crimes,” said Riad Salameh, governor of Lebenon’s central bank.

Salameh has not made it evident if the plan will employ blockchain technology, however the topic seems to have been talked about in conversation.

The governor reaffirmed his disapproval of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin in Lebanon because of the lack of regulation.

JPMorgan Chase is introducing a blockchain powered interbank payment program based off Quorum which uses the ethereum network.
JPMorgan Chase is introducing a blockchain powered interbank payment program based off Quorum which uses the ethereum network.

“These [bitcoin] are not currencies but rather a commodity whose prices rise and fall without any justification. For this reason, BDL has banned the use of this currency in the Lebanese market. The digital currency will be issued by BDL and will be available in the next few years,” he said.

Salameh continued stating that there is no liability against the Lebanese pound because of the $43.5 billion in foreign treasuries held by BDL.

“This is reassuring, and our words are based on facts and figures. Coverage of the Lebanese pound in foreign currencies is high. There is also an important availability of foreign currency in the Lebanese banking sector. Therefore, there is no need to have a demand for the lira to secure foreign currencies. The objective of the financial architecture of the Central Bank aims to secure the stability of the national currency and protect the Lebanese economy,” the governor pronounced.

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