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BIS: No Evidence of Mass Transition From CBDC Research to Pilots and Experiments

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The Bank of International Settlements’s new survey revealed that only 10% of central banks are likely to issue a CBDC for the general public in the short term.

A new survey from the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) revealed that only 10% of central banks are likely to issue a central bank digital currency (CBDC) for the general public in the short term.

According to a report the BIS shared with Cointelegraph on Jan. 23, the bank surveyed 66 central banks from around the world to investigate their eagerness to develop and issue a CBDC. Out of them, respondents represented 21 advanced economies and 45 emerging market economies (EMEs), thus covering 75% of the world’s population and 90% of its economic output.

EMEs vs. advanced economies results

The results showed that only 10% of the surveyed banks are likely to release a general-purpose CBDC in the short term — which is twice the proportion of banks last year. This figure represents 20% of the world’s population. 20% of the banks that participated in the survey said they will likely issue a CBDC in the medium term, out of which 90% are in EMEs.

The authors of the report found no evidence of a widespread transition from the research phase of CBDCs to pilots and experimentations. The report further reads:

“Cash use is the key to driving many central banks’ plans, with EME central banks aiming to reduce reliance on cash, and advanced economies acting to pre-empt any issues that might be faced by the general public in accessing central bank money.”

Motivations behind issuing of a CBDC

Central banks from EMEs demonstrated stronger motivations than advanced economies for developing a general-purpose CBDC. These included domestic payment efficiency, payment safety and financial inclusion. Advanced economies pointed out payment safety as the sole impetus behind such development.

Respondents showed a similar trend in regards to a wholesale CBDC, wherein EMEs named the same motivations as for the issuance of a general-purpose CBDC, while advanced economies emphasized increased efficiency for cross-border payments as the most important motivation.

Collaborative efforts to understand CBDCs

On Jan. 22, the World Economic Forum (WEF) — together with some of the world's major central banks — created a CBDC policymaker toolkit in an attempt to help policy-makers understand whether deploying a CBDC would be advantageous and guide them through its design.

To develop the framework, the WEF collaborated with regulators, central bank researchers, international organizations and experts from over 40 institutions. The framework recognizes that a CBDC — among other things — can improve the cost and speed efficiencies of cross-border interbank payments, as well as reduce settlement and counterparty risks.

That same day, the former head of payments and settlements at the Bank of Japan admitted that Facebook’s Libra had galvanized central banks globally to look seriously into digital currency issuance.

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