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Aussie university pilot offline CBDC

Aussie university pilot offline CBDC

Students at Australia's Southern Cross University have been piloting the use of a CBDC to pay for goods and services offline at on-campus vendors.

The university partnered with ANZ on the eight-week pilot, designed to explore how a CBDC could address a lack of online connectivity. Ten Southern Cross students were given NFC-enabled smart cards, each pre-loaded with eAUD to spend at selected vendors at the University’s Gold Coast and Northern Rivers campuses.

The university's involvement was in part prompted by the Northern Rivers floods of 2022, which saw ATMs and POS machines knocked down for weeks.

Richard Jones, university director, financial services and project lead, says: “The aim of the pilot is to demonstrate how an organisation like a university can step in and provide immediate financial support through the disbursement of CBDC in emergency situations, like a flood, where students are unable to access funds online or traditional banking services."

PhD candidate and pilot participant Ayodhya Wathuge, adds: “It was very easy to use eAUD to buy goods and services. As seamless as paying using my bank card or mobile phone but with the certainty that if and when the internet is down then transactions are still possible.”

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