Israel might be launching its own private Bitcoin in a few years.
The Bank of Israel is looking to issue a digital currency to create a faster payments system as well as reduce the country’s reliance on cash, according to an anonymous source that spoke to Reuters. However, the project has not been finalized yet.
If the central bank gives the project a green light, the country’s government is ready to include it in its 2019 budget.
This national cryptocurrency would be very different from Bitcoin, however. Reuters’ source claims it would be centralized, safe and in accordance with Israel’s money laundering rules. Bitcoin, in contrast, is decentralized and anonymous.
Jerusalem Post has a tiny bit more detail on how this national cryptocurrency could work. “You can imagine that instead of giving you a piece of paper saying the Bank of Israel on it, I can send you a piece of digital code that was issued by a central bank,” a source told the outlet.
While Israel might be interested in cryptocurrencies, it’s not very benevolent toward the coin that started the crypto-craze — Bitcoin. Yesterday, CNBC reported that Israel is looking to ban companies based on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
Israel is not the first country that’s exploring the possibility of launching a cryptocurrency or using blockchain technology in some fashion. In August, Estonia announced it’s planning to launch its own cryptocoin, called Estcoin, through an ICO (initial coin offering), and China and Singapore have been testing their own digital currency systems for a while now.