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93% of Central Banks Exploring Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)

A recent BIS survey shows that 93% of central banks are actively involved in CBDC work, with retail CBDCs leading the way in terms of progress and potential benefits.

Key Points

  • BIS survey reveals 93% of central banks are engaged in CBDC work, with over half actively conducting experiments or pilots.
  • Retail CBDCs lead in progress, with almost a quarter of central banks piloting them.
  • 80% of central banks recognize the value of having both a retail CBDC and a fast payment system.
  • Cryptoassets and stablecoins influence CBDC work, but their usage for payments outside the crypto ecosystem remains limited.

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has recently released a survey showcasing the growing interest and engagement of central banks in Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) work. The survey gathered responses from 86 central banks worldwide, revealing that an overwhelming 93% of these institutions are currently involved in some form of CBDC work.

Retail CBDCs Lead the Way

Among the central banks surveyed, it was found that over half of them are not just exploring CBDCs, but are actively conducting experiments or working on pilots. Interestingly, retail CBDCs are leading the way in terms of progress, with almost a quarter of central banks currently piloting a retail CBDC.

The BIS survey also highlights the perceived value of CBDCs among central banks. More than 80% of the participating central banks recognize the potential benefits of 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 significant advantages.

Influence of Cryptoassets and Stablecoins

The emergence of cryptoassets and stablecoins has had a significant influence on the acceleration of CBDC work for nearly 60% of the respondent central banks. However, the BIS survey also notes that stablecoins and other cryptoassets are rarely used for payments outside the crypto ecosystem.

Based on the survey findings, by the year 2030, there could potentially be 15 retail CBDCs and nine wholesale CBDCs in public circulation. This projection reflects the increasing interest among central banks worldwide in digital currencies.

Central banks in emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) are more likely to be motivated by financial inclusion-related factors 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 already issued a live retail CBDC, marking a significant milestone in the global adoption of CBDCs. These banks include The Bahamas, the Eastern Caribbean, Jamaica, and Nigeria.

The Future of CBDCs 

The BIS survey provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of CBDC development, offering valuable insights into the future trajectory of digital currencies. As central banks continue to explore and experiment with CBDCs, their role in the global financial system is expected to become increasingly significant.