When Central Banks Go Digital: CBDCs and the Payment Revolution
Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) are the digital form of a nation's currency -- backed and issued by a central monetary authority -- which can be used to facilitate transactions in an increasingly digitalised world. CBDCs are not widely available yet, but Mainland China is currently piloting a “digital yuan,” and other central banks around the world are considering creating their own digital currencies. This global shift is largely driven by the recognition that CBDCs have the potential to not only transform payments, but also promote financial inclusion and address the economic challenges brought on by Covid-19.
At a webinar on 27 January, Colin Pou, Executive Director (Financial Infrastructure) at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, introduced Project Inthanon-LionRock, a joint initiative between the HKMA and the Bank of Thailand, which is currently at the second stage of development. Pou explained the potential of Inthanon-LionRock to enable the use of CBDCs for wholesale and cross-border payments.
In the panel discussion that followed, Daniel Chan, Head of Blockchain Innovation Lab at FORMS HK; Charles d'Haussy, Director of ConsenSys; and Benedicte Nolens, Head of the Innovation Hub at the Bank for International Settlements, discussed the future of CBDCs, including their global and local development, design technology, opportunities and challenges, and impact on businesses. The panelists also shared their insights on how businesses can prepare for the onset of CBDCs by building capacity in areas including talent, infrastructure and compliance.
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