The Bank of Israel has already carried out a pilot test on its central bank digital currency (CBDC), Deputy Governor Andrew Abir revealed at a conference of the Fair Value Forum of IDC Herzliya.
Bank of Israel Already Held a Pilot Test for its Central Bank Digital Currency
Deputy Governor Andrew Abir said that the Bank of Israel has issued its digital shekel as part of an internal pilot program, as reported by The Jerusalem Post.
Towards the end of a panel discussion, at a conference of the Fair Value Forum of IDC Herzliya, the Deputy Governor perhaps accidentally said that the Bank of Israel had already run a digital currency pilot.
Another member of the panel seemed surprised and asked: “You have already issued a coin?” to which Abir responded in the affirmative.
However, Abir clarified that he was not completely sold on the idea of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) or if that would ever be launched:
“I had previously estimated that the chance of having a CBDC within five years is 20%. My estimate has increased a bit in the last year, mainly because other countries are advancing with it too. But still, there is less than a 50% chance.”
Digital Shekel Not Intended to Replace Banks
The deputy governor further clarified that the idea of launching the digital shekel is not so that it could eliminate banks, adding that banks are still an important part of any payments system:
“I’m sorry to tell you, but it’s not going to eliminate the banks. No central bank will introduce a digital currency for this purpose. The banks will still have an important part in the entire payment system.
Another thing he clarifies on central bank digital currencies is that they were not intended to protect Bitcoin while calling it a ‘pyramid fraud’:
“The second thing that will perhaps disappoint you is that the digital currency of a central bank won’t come to protect bitcoin. What we are talking about is a payments system. Bitcoin is not a payment system and is not a currency in the best case scenario it is a financial asset, and in the less good scenario it is a pyramid fraud.”