With conflicting reports saying it’s meant to curb tax evasion or to speed up financial transactions, regardless, Israel is moving ahead with plans for its own digital currency.
Reuters is reporting that a source within the Bank of Israel says the central bank is ready to authorize the government to launch a blockchain distributed ledger digital treasury currency, similar to other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. In a move that would shift Israel toward a cashless society almost overnight, the Knesset is also reportedly preparing legislation to make it happen as early as the 2019 budget year.
Israel has, for years, sought to find a way to limit the amount of cash it prints because the black market has grown over time to now consume more than 20 percent of the country’s economy. This has had a trickle-down impact on government tax receipts.
A “centralized” digital currency, which would allow the government to track every transaction, is seen by many as one means to address that issue. But others believe it will only lead to a faster exodus away from government-issued currencies toward cryptocurrencies.