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The governor of France’s central bank has announced that the Banque de France is ready to test its digital currency by Q1 2020.
As cryptocurrency adoption continues to spread all over the world, several entities including corporate organizations and governments are gradually catching the crypto bug. Based on a report from a French financial media platform Les Echos, France has now joined a list of countries that have shown interest in the crypto sector and have taken it a step further with a decision to float their own digital currency. France will now test its crypto sometime in the first quarter of next year.
During a recent conference of the French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority (ACPR), the governor of the French central bank -the Banque de France – François Villeroy de Galhau, announced this and also called for collaborations. He stated:
“We intend to start experimenting quickly and launch a call for projects (for private sector players) by the end of the first quarter of 2020.”
The official Twitter account for the Bank of France has also confirmed this in a recent tweet, saying that the institutions must “in a serious and methodical manner”, make sure it is not left behind in this regard.
Unlike most other countries, however, the French digital token will be restricted to financial institutions and not be extended to retail or individual payments. Both Les Echos and the governor did not say whether or not the Banque de France intends to spread accessibility at a later time.
As part of the governor’s speech as quoted on a tweet from the Banque de France, the central bank’s chief hopes that France will be the “leading issuer” of a central bank digital currency. This is probably to outperform China because the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has said that its digital currency is ready, but has yet to announce a release date.
The development might also be a method by the French central bank to tackle Facebook’s forthcoming Libra. It’s no longer news that France is strongly against Facebook’s Libra and will not be supporting the project. Just like the tweet referenced above, the French Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire had previously called for the development of a national digital currency so that France will not be left behind by other countries such as China, which are making significant strides in the development and issuance of their digital currencies. The minister however also said at the time that Libra must not be accepted or used as a way to relegate other currencies. He noted:
“It is out of question that Libra becomes a sovereign currency. It can’t and must not happen.”
Other European countries including Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, also have similar opinions about Libra.
In the blockchain and crypto space, France has really not been left behind and has been making significant strides so far. Last month, the deputy governor of Banque de France Denis Beau announced at a conference that the use of blockchain technology would be advantageous to the development of France’s financial system. Moreover, it has become known that high school students in the country will have an opportunity to gain basic knowledge of blockchain and digital currencies in the framework of their everyday studies.