Digital currencies have existed for some time now. In Sweden, for example, digital currency platforms have been in use for several years. To date, however, there has yet to be a country with a state-run electronic payment system. Ecuador’s 16 million citizens will be the first in the world to partake in a digital currency sponsored by the government.
40 per cent of Ecuadorians do not have access to a bank account, says Pablo Parades, head of the Institute of Economics at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. Ecuador’s digital currency will enable the exchange of physical cash for digital money that will be stored in an “electronic wallet” on user’s mobile phones. To sign up for an EMS account, the user must have a mobile phone and a national identity number. Once this information is confirmed, the user is able to perform transactions.
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