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Libra threat spurs small nations to create own digital currencies

Cambodia and Marshall Islands look to safeguard monetary sovereignty

Facebook's plan to create a virtual currency called Libra has prompted some emerging nations to consider developing their own.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Emerging economies are racing ahead of their industrialized counterparts in testing central-bank-issued digital currencies amid fears that their own money could be displaced by cross-border alternatives like Facebook's Libra and China's planned digital yuan.

About 80% of central banks worldwide are researching centrally issued digital currencies, according to the Bank for International Settlements, but such work is largely focused on technical issues. This includes a joint research arrangement announced last month by six central banks, including the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank, which will focus mainly on technical feasibility.

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