Future of Money

Central banks of Honduras, Guatemala eye digital currencies as El Salvador launches bitcoin

2 minute read

A token of the virtual currency Bitcoin is seen placed on a monitor that displays binary digits in this illustration picture, December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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TEGUCIGALPA, Sept 8 (Reuters) - The central banks of Honduras and Guatemala are eying digital currencies, officials said on Wednesday, following El Salvador's adoption of bitcoin as legal currency.

The central bank presidents for Honduras and Guatemala both said the banks were studying digital currencies with the aim of eventually introducing them into the economy, including via a central bank digital currency.

El Salvador on Tuesday made history with its adoption of bitcoin as legal tender, though the launch of its government-backed digital wallet hit snags including technological glitches and an angry protest by mistrustful citizens. read more

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"The Central Bank of Honduras has also recently begun, approved by the board of directors, to initiate the study..... to determine the feasibility of conducting a pilot test issuing its own digital money or a central bank digital currency," said Honduras central bank president Wilfredo Cerrato, speaking at a regional economic forum in Tegucigalpa.

Cerrato said the adoption of digital currencies in Central American countries should be addressed in the Central American Monetary Council, which brings together central bank authorities.

Guatemala's central bank vice president Jose Alfredo Blanco said the bank was studying the possibility of a local digital currency that would be called iQuetzal.

"It will take perhaps a long time to complete the investigation phase," Blanco said, adding that a committee had been formed six months ago.

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Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Sandra Maler

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