According to a post published on Monday by the Jerusalem Post, Andrew Abir, the deputy governor at the Bank of Israel confirmed that the Bank of Israel had already test run a pilot digital shekel program.

Abir was speaking during the Fair Value Forum of IDC Herzliya conference, when he made the revelations which seemed to surprise some members of the panel with one asking if it was true they had already issued a digital coin and Abir responded in the affirmative.

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“I had previously estimated that the chance of having a CBDC within five years is 20%… My estimate has increased a bit in the last year, mainly because other countries are advancing with it too, but still there is less than a 50% chance,” said Abir.

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During the conference, Abir was also quick to criticize Bitcoin (BTC).

“What we are talking about is a payment system. Bitcoin is not a payment system, and it is not a currency. In the best situation, it is a financial asset, and in the worst case, it is a pyramid scam,” said Abir.

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The Bank of Israel has however not made any announcement on its official website in regards to any digital currency program although last month it had announced plans for exploring what benefits a CBDC would bring to the economy of Israel. It said it would launch a CBDC if the benefits outweighed the potential risks and costs.

In 2018, an interdepartmental team that had been given the task of exploring the introduction of a CBDC in Israel four years ago recommended that Israel should not issue a CBDC since no other advanced economy in the world had issued a digital currency for extensive use.