In what can only be described as a fierce international competition between several countries, there has been increased interest in the creation of a national digital currency. Recently, during a conference, the governor of the Banque de France François Villeroy de Galhau has said that France is fully vested in issuing a digital currency and will be testing it next year.

Speaking at the conference, the governor gave a timeline for an unspecified date in Q1 2020 and called for interested private parties. He said:

‘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.”

There will however be a difference in France’s cryptocurrency as the Banque de France does not intend to make it available to just about anyone. The unnamed digital asset will only be available to the government and financial institutions as well and it is unclear if this will change later.

There are suggestions that France is doing this to keep up with other countries who are actively developing a similar offering. France has previously expressed its dislike for Facebook’s Libra and might want to offer the French people an alternative. Furthermore, China has said its central bank digital currency (CBDC) is ready and even though the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has given some details, it hasn’t said exactly when it will launch.

The governor further said that he wants France to be the “leading issuer” of a digital currency, a comment that seems to suggest France is racing against China.

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