Central banks’ growing CDBC work

Central banks’ growing CDBC work

Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) have been a topic of interest for central banks for some time, but a survey of central banks published this week by the Bank for International Settlement highlights that focus on the technology continues to increase.

Almost all central banks are now engaging in CBDC work
Central banks' self-reported CBDC work by focus and level of maturity

The survey of 86 of the world’s central banks found that 94% now report working on CBDCs in some form – the highest since the organisation began its yearly survey. The vast majority (around 68%) now report working on CDBCs that combine solutions for both wholesale and retail, while slightly under a third of those who are conducting CDBC work are focusing exclusively on retail solutions. While combined CDBCs have a slightly lower share than last year, they continue to account for more than half of CBDC work – something that has been the case since 2021. 

While there was an increase in the number of central banks engaging in both proof-of-concepts and full pilot initiatives in 2023, with abstract research dropping, the number of live or close-to-live CBDCs remains very low. 

Interestingly, there is some convergence here between advanced economy (AE) central banks and those in emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs). AEs saw a significant jump in the number of banks running pilots (up 23 percentage points to 33%) or proof-of-concepts (up 21 percentage points to 81%). However, this growth was less pronounced among EMDEs, which saw a three percentage point increase in pilots (19%) and a two percentage point increase in proof-of-concepts (to 39%). There has also been a much greater increase in retail CBDC proof-of-concepts among AEs.

Ensuring the singleness of money and warding off potential threats from new forms of privately issued money remains a significant driver for many central banks. However, on the retail side many central banks see potential efficiency gains as being key, while on the wholesale side, cross-border payments continues to be a key driver.

How can FXC Intelligence help central banks’ cross-border payments strategies?

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