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CBDC Rising: Bank Of Int’l Settlements Reveals 93% Of Banks Engaging In Exploratory Studies

CBDC, short for central bank digital currency, has garnered significant interest from a majority of central banks, as indicated by a recent survey conducted by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS). The survey reveals a strong inclination among central banks to explore the potential implementation of CBDC and its associated benefits.

The survey was carried out between October and December 2022 and aimed to gather insights on central bank digital currencies and cryptocurrencies.

The survey findings revealed that an impressive 93% of central banks expressed their inclination towards exploring CBDCs, either in the retail domain, wholesale domain, or both.

Central banks were asked about their ongoing efforts, goals, and the level of progress made in their initiatives. Additionally, the survey sought to understand central banks’ perspectives regarding the utilization of stablecoins and other crypto assets within their respective jurisdictions.

In essence, the survey results highlight the widespread interest among central banks in incorporating digital currencies into their monetary systems, underscoring the growing recognition of the potential benefits and opportunities offered by these digital assets.

Central Banks’ Interest In CBDC And Retail Adoption

The survey conducted by the Bank of BIS encompassed the jurisdictions of 86 central banks, representing a significant portion of the global population and economic output. BIS researchers emphasized that these jurisdictions account for approximately 82% of the world’s population and 94% of global economic output.

Among the participating central banks, 28 hailed from advanced economies (AE), while 58 were from emerging market and developing economies (EMDE).

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As of 2022, only a handful of countries, including the Eastern Caribbean, Bahamas, Nigeria, and Jamaica, had taken the bold step of issuing a retail central bank digital currency.

However, the survey authors highlighted the likelihood of more countries following suit in the near future. According to the survey results, 18% of the central banks expressed their intention to potentially launch a retail CBDC in the coming period.

While no retail digital currencies were introduced in 2022, the survey findings indicate a growing trend toward exploring and implementing retail CBDCs, with several central banks actively considering their adoption. This suggests that the current landscape is poised for further expansion as more countries recognize the potential benefits and opportunities offered by retail CBDCs.

The Unique Characteristics Of Digital Currencies

CBDCs represent a digital form of national currencies such as pounds or dollars, issued and regulated by central banks. 

One of the key differentiating factors of CBDCs is the trust they inspire due to their backing by central banks. This trust is derived from the fact that central banks are traditionally regarded as highly reputable and authoritative institutions within a country’s financial system. 

As a result, CBDCs are perceived as more reliable and trustworthy compared to decentralized finance (DeFi) alternatives such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, which lack the backing of a centralized authority.

Featured image from Gianluca Colla/Getty Images

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