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June 16, 2024
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Israel advances digital shekel initiative with new innovation challenge

Israel’s Central Bank has launched the “Digital Shekel Challenge,” accelerating its exploration into central bank digital currency (CBDC) solutions. This initiative aims to foster innovative real-time payment applications by leveraging the capabilities of the digital shekel.

Inspired by the Bank for International Settlements’ Project Rosalind, the challenge invites participants from various sectors to develop advanced payment systems using a sandbox environment provided by the Bank of Israel (BoI). The challenge is divided into three phases, including initial applications, network access for selected projects, and final presentations to a judging panel.

The BoI’s Deputy Governor, Andrew Abir, underscored the potential benefits of the digital shekel for Israel’s economy, such as encouraging banks to offer higher interest rates. Public support for the digital currency has been significant, indicating a favorable reception towards its development. However, concerns about privacy and the potential exclusion of decentralized finance and zero-knowledge solutions pose challenges.

Shauli Rejwan, managing partner at Masterkey Venture Capital, highlighted that the program could bridge the gap between the Web3 industry and government initiatives, despite the current limitations. The BoI welcomes contributions from private, public, and academic entities, emphasizing originality and innovation in payment solutions.

This initiative is part of Israel’s broader commitment to modernizing its financial system and exploring the transformative potential of CBDCs. The digital shekel could introduce both universal and niche-specific payment solutions, aligning with global trends towards digital currencies and enhancing Israel’s economic infrastructure​​.

The post Israel advances digital shekel initiative with new innovation challenge appeared first on Crypto Reporter.

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