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Central banks are actively exploring CBDCs, report says

By Yana Berman

Researchers for the Bank of International Settlements reveal that the vast majority of state banks are already working on their own digital currencies

The majority of central banks are working on projects to launch their own digital currencies, a survey conducted by the Swiss-based Bank of International Settlements (BIS), has revealed.

The entity surveyed 66 central banks across the world in late 2019. According to BIS, which is sometimes known as the 'central bank of central banks', the institutions that took part in it were from both advanced and emerging market economies.

The study found out that the vast majority of central banks are considering launching a so-called “central bank digital currency” or CBDC. Some of them are already at an advanced stage, while others are still developing their proofs-of-concept.

According to BIS, such projects have been prepared by 80 per cent of the respondents. Specifically, 40 per cent of them are already experimenting with CBDC prototypes, while 10 per cent have developed pilot projects.

The survey also questioned the participants whether they have legal permission to launch the CBDC in their home countries. Only a quarter of the respondents have received any such authority.

A third do not have any legal basis so far, and 40 per cent remain unsure about the regulations.

Another part of the survey was dedicated to stablecoins and existing cryptocurrencie. Here, the results were similar to last year's.

"No central banks reported any significant or wider public use of cryptocurrencies for either domestic or cross-border payments; and the usage of cryptocurrencies is considered either minimal (“trivial/no use”) or concentrated in niche groups," the report reads.

However, one unnamed central bank in a jurisdiction that is currently facing "serious civil unrest" saw wider public and cross-border use for crypto within the country in 2019, according to the report.

Last year BIS claimed it would support any digital currency initiatives developed by central banks. However, BIS general manager Agustín Carstens said there was no evident demand for it at that moment.

FURTHER READING: French central bank speeds up digital currency development

FURTHER READING: Digital yuan will be different from Bitcoin, Chinese official reveals

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