In the 2022 PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Global Index, the eNaira of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Sand Dollar of the Bahamas led the retail project indexes of central banks internationally.
The PwC index, titled “The Race to Digital Money,” analyzes and rates the leading retail and wholesale CBDC projects. The Index also considers central bank opinion and public interest when assessing the present stage of CBDC project development.
According to PwC’s newest index research, more than 80% of central banks are planning or have already launched a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).
“The CBN’s eNaira, Africa’s first CBDC, and the Sand Dollar, issued by the Central Bank of the Bahamas as legal money in October 2020, making the Bahamas the first country to launch a CBDC,” according to the research released Tuesday.
Overall, the report stated that retail CBDC projects (digital currencies intended for public use) have matured faster than wholesale CBDC projects (digital currencies used by financial institutions with central bank accounts), and that several successful wholesale pilots have been completed in the past year.
Results of the Index
According to the article, China became the first large country to test a CBDC in 2020 with the digital yuan, and 12 cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, have pilot projects running as of March 2022.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Bank of Thailand (BoT) collaborated to develop the mBridge project, which is the leading project in the Index, according to the PwC research.
The mBridge project is working on a proof-of-concept prototype to enable real-time, cross-border foreign currency payments using distributed ledger technology, according to the company.
Similarly, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has two new CBDC initiatives in the works, and it is continuing to create a wholesale CBDC for cross-currency payments, which is scored well in the Index.
Opinions of the Experts
“This year’s Index reveals that central banks are increasing participation in the digital currency field,” said Haydn Jones, PwC’s UK Blockchain and Crypto Specialist. CBDC maturity varies by country, and each country’s motivating causes are different.”
Increasing financial inclusion, facilitating cross-border transfers, and combating financial crime, he noted, are all aspects.
Mr Jones continued, “In 2022, we expect CBDC research, testing, and implementation to ramp up.”
He believes that the success of Nigeria’s eNaira will encourage the growth of CBDCs in nations where financial inclusion is a crucial goal.
“It is especially important for financial institutions to understand where central banks are with digital currencies because CBDCs will eventually flow through the payment system and start to hit bank balance sheets,” John Garvey, PwC’s United States Global Financial Services Leader, said in his remarks.
From the perspectives of inclusivity, financial performance, and interoperability, he said rigorous dialogue with central banks is crucial in explaining the business case for CBDCs.
“One thing is certain: decreasing the cost of payments in an economy adds value to the economy as a whole and to citizens. “Everyone will profit if CBDCs can eventually enable more efficient payments,” Mr Garvey concluded.