By the close of this decade, as many as 15 central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) might be operational worldwide, according to a survey conducted by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).
The Switzerland-based institution, which is under the ownership of 63 central banks accounting for nearly 95% of global economic activities, disclosed that nine central banks are "very likely" to circulate a CBDC for commercial application in financial markets within the upcoming six years.
The study, which included 86 central banks, revealed that 93% are currently involved in CBDC initiatives.
Significant economies like India, the U.K., and the European Union are seriously considering launching a digital equivalent of their respective national currencies.
The report indicated that "Global work on CBDCs has made further progress" from last year, particularly in burgeoning economies where CBDCs are viewed as an avenue to aid those without access to traditional banking services.
The study suggested that "If issued, retail CBDCs can be expected to complement and coexist with other domestic payment methods."
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According to the survey, "stablecoins and other crypto assets are seldom used for payments outside the crypto ecosystem."
The most common applications were found to be cross-border remittances and customer purchases.
A noticeable shift has been observed since the previous BIS survey released in May 2022.
That survey highlighted the influence of the expanding private crypto market in encouraging central banks to evaluate their options.
However, after the 2022 crypto crash, fewer central banks seem eager to issue CBDCs, with many deciding against it, as per the recent findings.
The Bank of England suggested earlier this year that a digital pound might be necessary in the future. While the European Commission presented a bill in June aimed to support a digital euro.
The U.S. Treasury, meanwhile, is investigating methods to maintain the privacy of digital transactions.
The monetary authorities in the Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean, Jamaica, and Nigeria have already introduced a retail CBDC.
However, the testing of a digital yuan in China has sparked concerns about the possibility of the technology being exploited for state surveillance.
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