The central bank of the oil-rich Gulf state said on Monday, that the United Arab Emirates will launch its first digital currency by 2026.
Several central banks around the world recently announced similar plans while criticizing decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
The Emirates Central Bank said its plans include "issuing a digital currency and driving digital transformation in the financial services sector in the UAE, by utilizing the latest artificial intelligence and big data solutions."
State media reported that the announcement is part of the "2023-2026" strategy, which aims to " position it among the world's top 10 central banks."
In 2019, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates announced a test phase of a common cryptocurrency for cross-border transactions.
The UAE has big tech ambitions, investing in artificial intelligence, launching a space program, and hosting regional headquarters of large multinational digital firms.
Faced with increasing popularity of the cryptocurrency bitcoin, as well as for online payments during the pandemic, central banks are exploring new units of their own.
China launched the race in March with the start of a test phase for the digital yuan.
Central banks in the United States, the European Union and England are also evaluating the possibility of launching their own digital currencies, which are designed to bring stability to a highly speculative sector.
Created in 2008 as an alternative to traditional currencies, Bitcoin is the world's most popular virtual unit.
But its price has recently slumped due to fresh moves by China to crack down on cryptocurrencies.
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