Israel launches digital shekel CBDC experiment for payments

Israel intends to expedite the development of its in-house central bank digital currency (CBDC), the digital shekel.

The Bank of Israel (BoI) plans to involve various service providers in co-developing an advanced digital payments ecosystem centered on the digital shekel. A rough translation of the central bank’s announcement read:

“As part of the action plan for the possible issuance of the digital shekel, the Bank of Israel is planning the ‘Digital Shekel Challenge’ — an experiment inspired by the ‘Project Rosalind’ carried out by the BIS Innovation Hub.”

Project Rosalind is a joint experimentation between the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and the Bank of England and aims to develop prototypes for an application programming interface (API).

As part of the challenge, the BoI will provide a sandbox environment attached to a layer of API. Participants will compete to build real-time CBDC payment systems for the general public.