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Tunisia Central Bank denies claims of issuing Central Bank Currency in the near future

During the Annual Congress of Forex club in Tunisia the Tunisian Central bank announced the testing of a blockchain enabled digital currency in collaboration with Universa Blockchain from Russia. The currency will be under test for several months before officially being launched. 

The annual congress discussed “Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and opportunities for financial integration in Maghreb “and brought together international and national experts from the digital world. Namely, Hervé Tourpe, Chief Digital Advisor of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Néji Ghandri, Member of the Executive Board of Amen Bank, Elyès Berrayana, Omar Bouattay, Head of Universal Hub AFRICA and Antonios Koumbarakis, PwC, Legal FS Regulatory and Compliance Services.

According to Alexandre Borodich, Chief Executive Officer of Universa, “Electronic banknotes cannot be counterfeited – each such banknote, like the paper version, is protected by cryptography, it, like the paper counterpart, has its own digital watermarks. And the production of such a banknote is 100 times cheaper than wasting ink, paper, electricity for the printing press, “ He added, “Tunisia will not issue additional paper money to issue electronic money. Instead, part of the country’s paper money will go into the pledge of electronic money. With the launch of the program, individuals can also switch to the E-dinar.”

Each CBDC digital note is a digital equivalent of an actual paper note with its face value and serial number, which exists in digital form and is protected from forgery by Universa Blockchain technologies. Mr. Marouane Abassi, Head of Central Bank Tunisia showed a symbolic operation to transfer one dinar from one account to another using the new system. The implementation will be in testing mode for the next several months after which it will go into public use.

Tunisia’s digital money is not a cryptocurrency, but a CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency), said Alexander Borodich, founder of the Russian blockchain platform Universa, on the basis of which new payment methods can be issued. The new virtual currency is secured by real banknotes.

Two thousand kiosks will appear in Tunisia, where citizens can replenish their digital wallet. At the initial stage, they will pay via the browser on the smartphone, and later a mobile application will be available. You will be able to send digital money or make a purchase by scanning a QR code.

The Central Bank of Tunisia later published a clarification on the news about the launch of its digital currency. The clarification reads as follows, “Following rumours about the Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT)’s adoption of a digital currency solution and its commitment with a foreign company for the establishment of this solution, the BCT denies all of these groundless allegations and information. To this effect, it clarifies the mentioned ambiguities and specifies what follows:

  • Within the framework of its reflection on economy and payment means digitalisation, the BCT is currently at the stage of examining all existing alternatives, among others, the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). However, this alternative is still at the reflection stage.
  • The BCT is presently working on finance digitalisation, in its digital currency dimension and not the one involving crypto-currency. Its departments are considering the opportunities and risks inherent to these new technologies, notably as regards cyber security and financial stability.
  • The BCT is not committed to any relationship, of whatsoever nature, with any national or foreign service provider in order to create any digital currency.
  • In fact, within the framework of the latest Tunisia’s FOREX Club event – an independent association from the BCT – and in order to encourage Tunisian young startupers, participants at this event have attended a technical feasibility demonstration of a digital currency theoretical solution, initiated by a private startup, having no moral or contractual relationship whatsover with the BCT. This Proof of concept was taken out of context, becoming thereby a marketing operation where the BCT’s name has been unduly used.
  • The Issuing institute reminds that only its official representative(s) are entitled to speak on its behalf and about its official position with regard to the adoption of this technology.
  • The BCT, which is getting ready to launch, in the beginning of 2020, both its “BCT-LAB” and its regulatory “Sandbox”, remains open to all technological innovations in the banking and financial field.

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