Qatar CBDC Tracker

CBDC Information

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Cash Issued




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Freedom Rankings

Cato and Fraser Human Freedom Index:


Freedom House Index:


Reporters Without Borders Freedom Index:


Qatar is currently in the pilot phase. After years of research, the Qatar Central Bank announced that it had built the infrastructure for a wholesale CBDC pilot.

CBDC History and Development

In 2018, the Qatar Central Bank published its first observations on CBDCs. Near the end of a 140-page report, the central bank mentioned that interest in CBDCs had been increasing in recent years, but it made no mention of any future plans.

In 2021, Qatar Central Bank governor Bandar Bin Mohammed Bin Saoud Al-Thani said that “central bank digital currency is very important for us as central bankers” and “we are conducting so much research on central bank digital currency.”

In 2022, Qatar Central Bank head of fintech Alanood Abdullah Al Muftah said, “It’s still being studied whether we’re having a [central bank] digital currency or not.”

Things changed in 2024 when the Qatar Central Bank announced the “completion of the development of the infrastructure for the Central Bank Digital Currency Project.” The central bank further stated that it would “test and develop selected applications for the CBDC to settle large payments with a group of local and international banks in a trial environment.” The program will be limited to a wholesale CBDC used in simulations, but it will involve licensed banks and other financial institutions. The pilot will explore two use cases: instant settlement and digital securities. According to the Qatar News Agency, the central bank will likely launch an experimental phase in October 2024.

The Qatar Central Bank has also dedicated an entire page on its website to the prospect of a Qatari CBDC. The page features around 24 frequently asked questions. Notably, the responses to questions on cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology were particularly telling. On cryptocurrency, the Qatari Central Bank says central banks want CBDCs to “safeguard monetary policy against potential broad use of cryptocurrencies” and to “[harness] the idea of programmable payments.” On distributed ledger technology, the central bank made it clear that while it’s interested in the technology, the system will remain governed by the central bank and align with all laws in Qatar.

Human Rights and Civil Liberties Concerns

Qatar earned a 25 out of 100 in Freedom House’s 2023 Freedom in the World report. As Freedom House and others have reported, surveillance and oppression are major issues for Qatar. The issuance or adoption of a CBDC in Qatar could worsen these issues.

“Police and security forces… reportedly monitored telephone calls, emails, and social media posts,” according to the U.S. State Department. Freedom House also reported that “security forces reportedly monitor personal communications, and noncitizens often self-censor to avoid jeopardizing their work and residency status.” A CBDC could be used to greatly expand surveillance by putting financial records on government databases by default.

The U.S. State Department also reported that “four prominent members of the al-Murra tribe [were sentenced] to life imprisonment for their involvement in staging protests and posting a series of tweets and videos expressing dissatisfaction with the elections law and criticizing the Emir.” The State Department further reported that “The law includes restrictive procedures on the establishment of newspaper outlets and grants the government the power to close outlets and confiscate assets of a publication.” Unfortunately, a CBDC could be used as another tool in this effort. Across the world, governments have often turned to freezing and seizing the money of activists, political rivals, and protestors to undermine the opposition. A CBDC would make such initiatives easier by allowing governments to take direct control of each citizen’s finances.

For additional information on concerns regarding violations of human rights and civil liberties, see the following reports by Amnesty International, Financial Tyranny Index, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, Privacy International, and the U.S. Department of State. For additional information on concerns regarding the risks of CBDCs, see the following webpage and report by the Cato Institute: The Risks of CBDCs and Central Bank Digital Currency: Assessing the Risks and Dispelling the Myths.

For additional information regarding metrics, the methodology page explains each of the data points and provides their respective sources.