E-shekel moves towards replacing paper money in Israel

The Bank of Israel has begun sampling the opinions of various interest groups as part of its bid to create an Israeli digital currency.

By Eli Cohen, World Israel News

While initial response has been favorable, Israel will probably not be a trailblazer when it comes to converting the Israeli Shekel into an all-digital currency.

According to the Bank of Israel report from May 2021, Israel is considering launching an Ethereum (ETH)-based e-shekel. on the potential issuance of a digital shekel with no given launch date.

Bloomberg reported that Yoav Soffer, the head of the Bank of Israel’s digital project, stated that “it is an ongoing process, even though the digital shekel is still in its developmental stage and no specific date has been fixed for the launch.”

Soffer added, “Right now, we are increasing the resources devoted to the digital shekel project, both in terms of finances and people. A digital shekel has great potential to increase competition and innovation within the payment industry.”

With cryptocurrencies having already become an alternative to standard currencies, central banks around the world have no choice but to keep a wary eye on the developments.

Central bank-backed digital currencies (CBDC’s) are still rare but all major currencies are invested in exploring the possibilities. The Bahamas Sand Dollar was first, followed by Nigeria’s e-Naira. People’s Bank of China could soon become the first major central bank to issue a digital version of its currency. In the U.S., there has been a lot of talk, but a much-awaited report by the Feds has yet to materialize.

Denmark, Ecuador, and Finland have cancelled plans to introduce CBDCs, but Canada, France, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, the UAE, and Uruguay are in various phases. Eleven countries, among them Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, and Sweden are in the Proof-of-Concept stage. Last week it was publicized that the UK’s House of Lords Committee sees “no pressing need for a central bank digital currency at the moment.”