The month of October alone saw a series of CBDC-related developments around the world.
Governments around the world continue to discuss the possible benefits and risks that national digital currencies can present.
The anticipation was high when Jerome Powell, Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, finally addressed the US government’s position on digital currency and the potential role of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) for domestic cross-border payments and international, October 19.
In his address, he focused on the potential benefits and risks that digital currencies can bring, in addition to the implications they will have for policy. This came after Facebook’s planned launch of Libra, its unauthorized blockchain-based payment system, which Powell called a „wake-up call.“
One of the concerns for some is whether the advent of a national digital currency will become a means of ending privacy by giving banks surveillance capabilities as well as hard fiat currencies, or will it work. it just as an extension of it?
Powell claimed the latter was true, explaining that if a digital currency was put into circulation, it would be seen as a “complement” and not as a way to replace traditional currency.
Another concern is whether China’s digital yuan will threaten the value of the US dollar as the world’s dominant reserve currency, and affect the euro. This concern is not underestimated, not when the international economic implications of a transition of this caliber could alter the current status of reserves.
The national digital currency is designed to be the digital equivalent of fiat money. Similar to cryptocurrency, it is usually based on blockchain or a comparable form of distributed ledger. Right now, the world’s largest banks, including several smaller banks, favor the idea of circulating digital currency.
In fact, seven central banks have expressed interest in the eventual development of a CBDC. This list includes the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank (ECB), Bank of Japan, Bank of England, Bank of Canada, Sveriges Riksbank, and Swiss National Bank.
When some of the foreseeable risks to a CBDC are taken into account, Powell expressed the need for the government to protect a CBDC from cyber attacks, since a digital currency system of this nature should be designed to withstand cyber attacks and the threat of cyberattacks. fraudulent use, in addition to the possibility of counterfeiting.
Powell further pointed out that privacy was also a concern as well as reflections on how the presence of a digital currency could alter current policy and possibly disrupt monetary stability. A CBDC must not only provide a layer of security, but also be able to prevent illegal activity, he explained.
While the reality of this idea grows rapidly as anticipation soars and most projects are still in the early stages of development, central banking institutions have radically started pursuing this project a year ago, since that Facebook announced its intention to develop Libra.
The idea would revolutionize digital payments , with the possibility of presenting this new payment platform to reach 2.7 billion active users, with 1.7 billion people in countries where banking systems are under-represented and their insufficient services. When governments, banks and regulators learned of Facebook’s bold move, they expressed concern that Libra could disrupt the traditional financial system.
Since digital transactions have dramatically increased during the pandemic, the government is apparently concerned about losing control of their CBDC, if privatized currencies like Libra become the industry standard, people will use and replace the CBDC. Benoit Coeure, a former member of the ECB’s board of directors, issued a warning last year, saying digital currencies like Libra „could challenge the supremacy of the US dollar“.
In the meantime, October alone saw a series of developments when it comes to central bank digital currencies around the world.
Recently, the government of Shenzhen in China made a bold move by conducting a public test in the form of a lottery, giving away 10 million yuan (about $ 1.5 million, at the time) in currency. digital .
The new digital yuan was disbursed through the country’s central banking system, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC). China is apparently taking the initiative very seriously, according to a report released in October, as it leaps forward with its plan to become the world’s first cashless company.
Unlike other central banks, the PBoC aims to adopt a retail CBDC, with commercial banks collaborating in an essential capacity. In fact, four large commercial banking institutions – which have also joined forces with large telecommunications companies – have joined forces to collaborate on pilot projects like the electronic payment in digital currency project in Shenzhen.
In order to avoid the use of intermediaries, banks will be elevated to the rank of agents of the CBDC , and a CBDC will be the preferred method for reloading funds in banks, carrying out banking transactions, making payments and, ultimately. account, bring businesses to banks, while giving the CBDC the opportunity to compete with other digital money platforms.
As agents, banks would be able to monitor account activity and have data collection capabilities, ensuring absolute traceability. In other words, a digital currency of this type could be considered as “controllable anonymity”.