Is Israel Developing Its Own Bitcoin?

December 25, 2017

< 1 min read

Reports of potential plans to develop an Israeli national cryptocurrency began circulating around Israel Sunday. According to two of Israel’s leading financial websites, Calcalist and The Marker, the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Israel are looking into the possibility of developing a national cryptocurrency, which would eventually replace the Israeli Shekel. However, any such implementation is still years away.

The initiative stems from a policy looking to decrease transactions based on cash, as those tend to lead to instances of tax evasion and money laundering. To remedy this, Israel is looking to legislate laws aimed at limiting the amount of physical cash which is allowed to be used in various transactions.

Other countries, such as Sweden, China and Japan have also begun looking into the possibilities of a national cryptocurrency, with China and Sweden already beginning tests with their respective central banks.

Despite the prospects of a digital national currency being implemented, it would be hard to argue that such a move would promote the decentralized worldview of leading crypto projects such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, as this move would just see the digitization of the Israeli economy, but not the decentralization of it.

Furthermore, any measure aimed at limiting the use of physical cash is expected to be met with serious objections from Arab and Ultra-Orthodox Knesset members, due to the prevalence of cash transaction among their constituents, both in terms of paying for goods, as well as salaries.

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