However, not all countries are adopting CBDCs at the same speed. Some countries have already launched their CBDCs, while others are still in the exploratory phase.
China is a clear leader in CBDC adoption, having already launched its Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) pilot program. The DCEP is designed to replace paper money and boost financial inclusion in rural areas. The pilot has been successful, with the DCEP being used by over 200 million users and processing over 4 billion transactions worth $400 billion.
European countries, on the other hand, are still in the exploratory phase. The European Central Bank (ECB) has been conducting research into CBDCs since 2016 but has yet to issue a new digital currency. However, the ECB recently launched a public consultation on the possibility of issuing a digital euro.
The Netherlands has been at the forefront of CBDCs research, with the Dutch central bank conducting multiple CBDC pilots. The Dutch central bank has partnered with the European Central Bank, De Nederlandsche Bank, and the Bank for International Settlements to test different CBDC architectures.
The United States
The US Fed has been conducting research into CBDCs, but they have not yet made a firm decision on whether to launch a digital currency. In February 2021, Fed Chair, Jerome Powell, stated that the US Central Bank is “carefully examining the vital issues around CBDCs”; however, the decision to proceed with a CBDC requires legislation. In addition, the Fed recently announced plans to launch a digital payment system, which some see as a stepping stone to a CBDC.
In Africa, several countries have shown a keen interest in CBDCs, including South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya. The Central Bank of Nigeria announced in 2021 that they were exploring the possibility of launching a CBDC. Kenya’s central bank has also been conducting research into CBDCs, with plans to launch a pilot program in 2022.
In conclusion, the adoption of CBDCs varies considerably among countries, with some countries like China leading the way, while others are still in the exploratory phase. CBDCs have the potential to provide many benefits, including promoting financial inclusion and reducing transaction costs, but policymakers need to carefully consider the potential risks and challenges associated with CBDC adoption.