A recent survey by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) revealed that 90% of central banks are exploring the possibility of issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC), while over 50% are currently engaged in “concrete experiments” with CBDCs. More than two-thirds see the possibility of issuing a retail CBDC within the next six years.
The survey, which included 81 of the world’s central banks found that:
- More than 70% of central banks are considering a CBDC model which would involve collaboration with the private sector. Many central banks envisage private firms providing wallet services, performing KYC, or handling retail payments.
- 76% of central banks working on a CBDC are exploring interoperability with current payment systems.
- The majority of central banks believe that CBDCs could play an integral role in facilitating easier cross-border payments.
- 68% of central banks surveyed by the BIS think that they will be in a position to issue a retail CBDC within the next 6 years.
The BIS also reported that most central banks are investigating the use of cryptocurrencies. In particular, around 70% of central banks are examining the impact of stablecoins on monetary and financial stability.
At present, a handful of countries have already issued CBDCs. The Bahamian “Sand Dollar” was the first to launch in 2020, while in 2021 Nigeria issued the eNaira and China released a pilot version of its e-CNY.