Lebanese central bank Banque du Liban (BDL) Governor Riad Salameh has claimed that Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are “unregulated” commodities whose use should be prohibited. He also said that digital currencies will be ineffective as national currencies because they are just “commodities.”

At the opening ceremony of the 7th Corporate Social Responsibility Lebanon Forum in late October 2017, Salameh told participants that the BDL prohibited the use of the cryptocurrencies across Lebanon due to their nature resembling that of commodities. He further claimed that money will eventually be digitized in the future.

"These [Bitcoin] are not currencies but rather a commodity whose prices rise and fall without any justification. For this reason, BDL has banned the use of this currency in the Lebanese market. We understand that electronic currency will play a prominent role in the future. But BDL must first make the necessary arrangements before taking this step and develop [a] protection system from cybercrime.”

Lebanon launches own digital currency

At the forum, Salameh also announced the plan by the central bank to introduce its own digital currency. He, however, did not reveal whether the currency will be based on Blockchain technology, which is behind Bitcoin and the other virtual currencies. It is possible that BDL will utilize other forms of technology to create a centralized digital currency in Lebanon as is being done by other countries.

Independent countries such as Ecuador and Sweden are studying the possible use of other technologies in creating their own digital money. Other nations like China are studying the use of Blockchain for their own digital currencies.

Salameh has not provided a timeline on when the central bank will launch its digital currency. He claimed that the digital money will “be available in the next few years.”