New reports today focus on statements by Egyptian official Ayman Hussein, a sub-governor of Egypt’s central bank, made yesterday at the Abu Dhabi conference.
Apparently, Hussein indicated that Egypt’s central bank is considering feasibility studies related to issuing a digital currency in the country.
Hussein was short on details, not disclosing names of partners or timelines – but the statements are a departure from some past expressions by Egyptian officials.
“Egypt has customarily taken an extremely risk- averse approach towards decentralized cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin( BTC), reinforcing its public rhetoric since the launch of the country’s first crypto- exchange in August 2017,” writes Kelly Cromley in Cointrust today, characterizing some past positions.
Other less positive statements include Egyptian heads of state claiming that there is no “legislation or law” in place to allow cryptocurrencies, and contending that Bcan be used to finance terrorism. Some Egyptians believe cryptocurrency trading is not permissible under shariah law, although opinions differ.
What does it mean if Egypt leans toward cryptocurrency?
With detractors of Bitcoin and other coins warning that they are likely to be used by destabilized and desperate countries, Egypt represents a sort of middle ground. While suffering from high inflation, Egypt doesn’t seem like its adoption of cryptocurrency would be a particularly desperate move right now.
By contrast, many are pointing to Iran as a place where a national cryptocurrency would likely be used to evade sanctions.
“Iran’s National Cyberspace Center has meanwhile revealed that the draft of a state-backed digital currency project is ready, which was avowed to be a centrally-controlled means of circumventing international sanctions when the plan was officially confirmed this July,” writes Marie Huillet in Cointelegraph.
Huillet adds reports that this weekend, an Iranian official remarked that in his view, Iran should participate in blockchain technologies, stating that some 104 countries, to his count, are using the technology today.
Often, the actions of world governments on crypto are seen as somewhat schizophrenic – governments want to jump on the bandwagon and embrace cutting-edge technology, but they are critical of the instability of cryptocurrencies and usually fearful of the alternatives they present to dealing with national currency markets. The anonymity of dark web crypto currencies, for example, is an issue.
If you’re making a bigger play on global cryptocurrency, keep an eye on the news out of the Middle East for more on which governments are going to become new adopters of blockchain functions.