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The Hong Kong based media outlet Asia Times recently reported that Afghanistan is looking to release Bitcoin bonds with the hopes to raise capital to support the country’s ailing economy.
The governor of the central bank of Afghanistan, Khalil Sediq, was speaking at the annual Spring Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (which have a crypto venture of their own), held in Washington between April 8 and 14. He also talked about the country’s attempt at launching a sovereign Bitcoin bond as well as other things related to the Afghan economy in a subsequent interview.
In the interview, Sediq revealed that the country was hoping to raise $5.8 billion by leveraging the powers of Bitcoin and blockchain technology. Afghanistan is hoping to pair Bitcoin with a form of metal futures. Lithium is one such metal; Afghanistan has it in great abundance and it is in great demand and will continue to rise in value due to the popularity of the electric-vehicle industry. Sediq indicated that the Afghan government is looking to take advantage of this opportunity and the usage of blockchain and Bitcoin would make it easier for Afghanistan to expose its $3 trillion lithium sector to investors across the world.
In his interview, governor Sediq blamed the rise in Afghanistan’s risk of debt due to the post-war conditions, for the weakening economy of the country. The same conditions previously prompted the IMF to place severe restrictions on non-concessional financing for the country. Sediq explained that the choice of using blockchain and Bitcoin came thanks to the fact that they would allow Afghanistan’s economy to access global markets. He stated that the hyperledger’s blockchain technology financial services platform is to be used to issue the sovereign Bitcoin bonds.
In the meantime, Sediq’s Tunisian counterpart, Marouane El Abassi, Governor of Banque Centrale de Tunisie, revealed his country’s intentions to launch a sovereign Bitcoin bond of its own. He expressed his views to the members of the meeting, saying that Bitcoin and blockchain offered central banks like their own an efficient tool to “curb money laundering, terrorist financing, simplify remittance, and drain grey economies.”
This show of intention by different countries to launch Bitcoin-based sovereign bonds has triggered a debate regarding the possibility of a new trend being born of country scale ICOs. A string of government-supported ICOs would really help pique public interest in the blockchain technology and normalize cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.