WEF leader urges countries to pay attention to digital currency

Web DeskWeb Editor

04th Aug, 2021. 03:07 pm

DUBAI: Digital currency is going to play a big role in the global economy, a World Economic Forum (WEF) committee leader said, and nations need to pay attention to its unprecedented progress.

“Somebody needs to be paying close attention to this space, and assessing on a weekly basis, what the national policy ought to be regarding digital currencies,” Sheila Warren, deputy head of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) committee of WEF, told Arab News.

Digital currency will continue to evolve, she said, adding that some nations had already started investigating its effect on their own economies.

“We’re going to see a variety of offerings in the digital currency space, central bank digital currency, stable coin issuances, and crypto-currencies, including Bitcoin,” Warren explained.

According to the Atlantic Council, which tracks central banks’ participation in the space, 81 countries had already explored a digital currency with China leading the pack.

The Asian superpower recently announced it will allow foreign visitors to use digital yuan in the upcoming Winter Olympics.

Other major central banks in the race are the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan, and the Bank of England.

In the Gulf, Saudi Arabia and the UAE previously said they were working jointly on a digital currency plan, they called the initiative “Project Aber”.

The two countries aim at developing a cross-border payment system that will reduce transfer times and costs between banks.

Although every nation doesn’t necessarily have to “immediately jump in”, Warren said it is important to watch the evolution of the industry.

“If you’re not doing that, you’re going to be stuck, I think, with whatever the world decides, the direction of travel is going to be, and not have enough opportunity to help shape that,” she said.

On decentralised crypto-currencies, including bitcoin, Warren said it will continue to have a huge role in the global economy, as well.

“We’re going to see an increase in [the] market cap, an increase in [the] market share of the suite of digital currencies,” she said.

The private sector will take advantage of this by developing some of a blockchain or distributed ledger, she added.

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