The exploration by central banks into digital currencies shows no sign of cooling, with 15 retail and nine wholesale CBDCs expected to enter circulation by the end of the decade, according to new data from the bank for International Settlements.
Summarising responses from a survey of 86 central banks, the BIS finds that most are exploring central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), and more than half of them are conducting concrete experiments or working on a pilot.
The responses show that the proportion engaged in some form of CBDC work has risen to 93% from 90% last year and that the work on retail CBDC is more advanced than on wholesale CBDC.
In addition, the paper shows that most central banks see potential value in having both a retail CBDC and a fast payment system, with the momentum most advanced in emerging economies where such developments are viewed as a means to draw more people in to the banking system.
Nonetheless, the recent crypto market crash has led some proponents to rethink their position, with the number saying they’re unlikely to issue a CBDC any time soon rising over the year.
The survey further shows that, to date, stablecoins and other cryptoassets are rarely used for payments outside the crypto ecosystem.