IMF says 110 countries are ‘looking into’ CBDCs

The IMF’s MD also stated that bitcoin and cryptos are an asset rather than money

International Monetary Fund logo                                 
Over 100 central banks are investigating setting up CBDCs, according to the IMF – Photo:Shutterstock

More than half of the world’s countries are taking an interest in central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

That’s according to Kristalina Georgieva, MD at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She made the remarks when speaking at a virtual conference hosted by Milan, Italy’s Bocconi University, on 5th October.

Of the 190 countries in the world that are IMF members (out of a total of 195 countries), around 58% are looking into CBDCs. Georgieva said: “We did a survey of our membership, and it was very impressive: 110 countries are at some stage of looking into CBDCs.”

She also revealed that the IMF is looking at CBDCs and cryptocurrencies from the perspective of macroeconomic stability. Georgieva added that CBDCs are the most reliable form of cryptos as they have the “backing of the state” and are generally regulatory compliant.     

Asset not money

The IMF MD also said that Bitcoin and other cryptos are an asset rather than money. The MD emphasised price volatility as one of the main issues surrounding Bitcoin and said that public trust, legal and regulatory framework are all necessary for CBDCs to be successfully used by the public.

Georgieva added however, that stablecoins do “fill the digital gap in privately issued money”.

Hong Kong regulator considers retail-focused CBDC

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) recently published a white paper titled e-HKD: A technical perspective’, which investigates the idea of a retail-focused CBDC it’s dubbed the digital Hong Kong dollar (e-HKD).

In June this year, the HKMA announced Project e-HKD, a retail or general-purpose CBDC (rCBDC) project that aimed to study the feasibility of the e-HKD. The project involves two parts: a technology experimentation study, and a comprehensive study of other legal and policy issues.

The white paper released by the HKMA makes up part of the technology experiment. It explores the “potential architectures and design options that could be applied to the construction of the infrastructure for distributing e-HKD and reports the initial thoughts and findings”.

It also aims to explore the technology solutions “that address the problems of cross-ledger synchronisation, over-issuance prevention and privacy-preserving transaction traceability”.

Further reading: HSBC chief executive backs central bank digital currencies

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