Ecuador Requiring Banks to Offer Electronic Currency Services

Ecuador, which uses the U.S. dollar as its official currency, will require banks to offer services tied to a government-created electronic coin.

Lenders with assets greater than $1 billion as of Dec. 31 have 120 days to fulfill the requirement, while smaller banks will get as long as a year, according to a resolution published on the Monetary Council’s website.

The new rule comes less than a year after the government asked Congress to approve the creation of the new currency with the condition that its use be voluntary. While President Rafael Correa has criticized the nation’s use of the greenback because it hampers officials’ ability to offset a drop in the OPEC nation’s crude exports with monetary stimulus, he has said the government has no plans to switch away from the dollar.

“The new institutional vision of the central bank determines as a strategic objective financial inclusion and the modernization of payment systems,” the council said in the resolution, which was approved April 16 and published in the official register May 25. Electronic currency “seeks efficiency in payment systems to promote and contribute to the economic stability of the country.”

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