Lebanon to introduce digital currency
Lebanon will introduce a new digital currency next year, the country's central bank said on Tuesday, in the latest attempt to shore up the country's dire economic situation.
Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh said that the measure would bring new faith in the banking sector and move to Lebanon towards a cashless society, according to Bloomberg.
"Lebanon doesn’t have any natural resources and we have to keep the gold because it's an asset that could be liquidated in foreign markets if we face an inevitable, fateful crisis," Salameh said according to Lebenon's National News Agency.
Salameh said in 2019 that he hopes digital currency could be a solution for Lebanon's financial woes but was reportedly held back by security and money laundering concerns, according to The Block site.
Lebanon has been in the throes of a major economic crisis with the plunging lira and a shortage of dollars all causing major problems for the government.
In response, banks have enacted strict capital controls but causing widespread anger due to Lebanese being unable to access their own money.
Banks and politicians have been the key targets of protesters' ire, leading to the fall of two governments since last year.
Lebanon is now seeking an IMF loan and assistance from western donors such as France.
The International Monetary Fund and France are among creditors demanding an audit as part of urgent reforms to unlock desperately needed financial support.
Lebanon has three more months to provide data for a forensic audit of the central bank after failing to meet a 3 November deadline, Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni said earlier this month.