The United Arab Emirates which serves as the regional financial hub for Gulf states has said it will launch its first digital currency by 2026. The  country’s central bank disclosed this major financial move on Monday.

The Emirates central bank said its plans include “issuing a digital currency and driving digital transformation in the UAE’s financial services sector, by utilising the latest artificial intelligence and big data solutions.”

The announcement is part of its “2023-2026 strategy” which aims to “position it among the world’s top 10 central banks”, it said according to state media.

In 2019, Saudi Arabia and the UAE announced a test phase of a common cryptocurrency for cross-border transactions.