A top official of the State Bank of Pakistan, the nation's central bank, announced that the institution aims to issue a digital currency (Central Bank Digital Currency or CBDC) by 2025, according to media reports. Speaking at the launch of regulations of Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs), central bank officials said that EMIs will be non-bank entities to be licensed by the central bank to issue e-money for the purpose of digital payments. Pakistan's finance minister Asad Umar and the central bankers said they are targeting Pakistan's economy to go fully digital by 2030.
“As we move towards digital economy, it is absolutely important to ensure cybersecurity,” said the finance minister, according to Dawn newspaper. Mr. Umar added that even a single high profile incident could cause irreparable loss of confidence to the economy and the banking system.
Deputy Governor Jameel Ahmad of the State Bank of Pakistan told the audience at the EMI launch that the central bank is working on a concept of issuing digital currency by year 2025 to promote financial inclusion and reduce inefficiency and corruption. Moreover, he said, the central bank would adopt evolving-realities of time and would be fully digitized and technology equipped by year 2030.
Cryptocurrencies use blockchain technology. Bitcoin is the name of the best-known cryptocurrency, the one for which blockchain technology was invented. A cryptocurrency is a medium of exchange, such as the US dollar, but is digital and uses encryption techniques to control the creation of monetary units and to verify the transfer of funds. The blockchain is a decentralized ledger of all transactions across a peer-to-peer network. Using this technology, participants can confirm transactions without a need for a central clearing authority. Potential applications can include fund transfers, settling trades, voting and many other issues.
Peer-to-peer cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin were often explicitly aiming to disrupt the existing monetary order – central banks will aim for an evolutionary approach. In many ways, central bank digital currencies (CBDC) would simply be the latest in a long line of technological upgrades that central banks have been through over the years, according to ING Bank.
There's a long history of the use of money as a medium of exchange in trade. It started with metal coins in Mesopotamia, then changed to paper currency in China and bank checks (sakks) in Arabia before becoming electronic in modern age. Here's how International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde answers the question "should central banks issue a new digital form of money?"
"A state-backed token, or perhaps an account held directly at the central bank, available to people and firms for retail payments? True, your deposits in commercial banks are already digital. But a digital currency would be a liability of the state, like cash today, not of a private firm. This is not science fiction. Various central banks around the world are seriously considering these ideas, including Canada, China, Sweden, and Uruguay. They are embracing change and new thinking—as indeed is the IMF. ...... I believe we should consider the possibility to issue digital currency. There may be a role for the state to supply money to the digital economy. This currency could satisfy public policy goals, such as (i) financial inclusion, and (ii) security and consumer protection; and to provide what the private sector cannot: (iii) privacy in payments".