January 16, 2018 / 10:32 AM / a year ago

Qatar central bank to consider topic of virtual currencies: governor

FILE PHOTO: Qatar's central bank governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani claps during the 58th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Central Bank Governors' annual meeting in Manama, Bahrain September 18, 2013. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo

DOHA (Reuters) - Qatar’s central bank will consider the topic of virtual currencies and there may be an opportunity in the future to introduce them in Qatar, central bank governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani said on Tuesday.

Sheikh Abdullah made the remark as he delivered a speech on Qatar’s plans to build a hub for financial technology.

Asked about his stance towards bitcoin, Sheikh Abdullah said the central bank would not focus on a single virtual currency, but would look at how to set best practice for such currencies.

The governor also said the central bank is developing a strategy to create a fintech hub for start-ups.

Sheikh Abdullah said that the growth of fintech could force banks to change their business models.

Already facing competition, disruption from fintech could mean increased challenges for Qatar’s retail banking sector, he said.

Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh; writing by Andrew Torchia; editing by Jason Neely

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