The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has released a survey revealing that 93% of central banks are now engaged in some form of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) work, with retail CBDCs taking the lead over wholesale CBDCs.
The survey, which gathered responses from 86 central banks, shows that over half of these institutions are not just exploring CBDCs but are conducting concrete experiments or working on pilots. The progress in retail CBDCs is more advanced, with almost a quarter of central banks piloting a retail CBDC.
The BIS survey also highlights the perceived value of CBDCs. More than 80% of central banks see potential benefits in having both a retail CBDC and a fast payment system (FPS). The unique properties and additional features that a retail CBDC can offer are seen as key advantages.
The emergence of cryptoassets and stablecoins has been a significant influence, accelerating CBDC work for nearly 60% of the respondent central banks. However, the survey also notes that stablecoins and other cryptoassets are rarely used for payments outside the crypto ecosystem.
The survey suggests that by 2030, we could see 15 retail and nine wholesale CBDCs in public circulation. This projection reflects the growing interest in digital currencies by central banks worldwide.
In terms of motivation, central banks in emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) are more likely to be driven by financial inclusion-related motivations in their CBDC work. On the other hand, the desire to enhance cross-border payments primarily drives the work on wholesale CBDCs.
Currently, four central banks have issued a live retail CBDC: The Bahamas, the Eastern Caribbean, Jamaica, and Nigeria. This development marks a significant milestone in the global adoption of CBDCs.
The BIS survey provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of CBDC development and offers valuable insights into the future trajectory of digital currencies. As the exploration and experimentation with CBDCs continue, their role in the global financial system is set to become increasingly significant.
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