There could be 24 CBDCs live by 2030

As  93% of the central banks are already conducting research on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), the uncertainty about this form of digital money among them fades. There could be up to 15 retail and 9 wholesale CBDCs in circulation by 2030. 

These numbers appear in the survey report by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), published on July 10. The survey of 86 central banks was conducted in late 2022 — from October to December. It asked central banks whether they were working on a retail, wholesale, or both types of CBDC, how advanced the work was and what was their motivation for it.

There could be 24 CBDCs live by 2030

According to a survey, more than half of the world’s CBs are conducting experiments or working on a CBDC pilot. Almost a quarter of all CBs are already piloting their retail CBDC projects. The number of wholesale CBDCs in the works is much lower, at half that amount.

Geoeconomically, it is the nations within emerging markets and developing economies (EMDE), which are leading the CBDC adoption. Their share in piloting the retail (29%) and wholesale (16%) CBDCs almost doubles that of the advanced economies (AE), which stands at 18% and 10% respectively.

Both developing and advanced economies mostly share the motivation behind their CBDC projects — financial stability and cross-border payments efficiency. However, there is also a difference, as EMDEs are more often driven by financial inclusion reasons.

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The share of CBs that are likely to issue a retail CBDC within the next three years grew from 15% last year to 18%. At the same time, 68% of central banks still state their unreadiness to issue a retail CBDC “any time soon.”

To date, there are still only 4 CBDCs in circulation — in The Bahamas, the Eastern Caribbean, Jamaica and Nigeria. Yet, based on the central bankers’ answers, the survey predicts 15 retail and 9 wholesale CBDCs live by the end of this decade.

At the end of June, the Reserve Bank of India reported ongoing negotiations with at least 18 central banks worldwide regarding the possibility of cross-border payments via its CBDC, the “digital rupee.” In July, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Innovation Center (NYIC) completed its proof-of-concept of a regulated liability network for a CBDC.

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