The Reserve Bank of Australia is kicking of 14 pilot projects to investigate potential use cases for a central bank digital currency.
The projects will operate in a ring-fenced environment and involve a digital currency that is a real claim on the Reserve Bank.
First announced in August, the RBA says the project received a "large number" of use case submissions from a range of industry participants.
Selected pilot projects involve offline payments with ANZ, nature-based asset trading in a combined proposal from ANZ and Commonwealth Bank, interoperable CBDC for Web3 Commerce with Mastercard and Cuscal, and a corporate bond settlement use case submitted by the Australian Bond Exchange, among others. Of Australia's Big Four banks, ANZ is involved in four projects, while Commonwealth Bank takes two of the spots. Westpac and NAB are notable by their absence.
Brad Jones, assistant governor at the RBA says: "It has been encouraging that the use case providers that have been invited to participate in the pilot span a wide range of entities in the Australian financial system, from smaller fintechs to large financial institutions. The pilot and broader research study that will be conducted in parallel will serve two ends - it will contribute to hands-on learning by industry, and it will add to policy makers’ understanding of how a CBDC could potentially benefit the Australian financial system and economy.”
A report on the project is expected to be published around the middle of the year.