5 Central Banks to Explore Launching Digital Currencies

The Bank of England, Bank of Japan, European Central Bank, Bank of Canada, and Sveriges Riksbank along with the Bank of International Settlements recently announced that they’ve banded together to research central bank digital currencies

The new group—co-chaired by Benoît Cœuré, head of the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) Innovation Hub, and Jon Cunliffe, deputy governor of the Bank of England and chair of the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures at the BIS—will openly share their findings and experiences. They’ll look into emerging technologies, use cases, and digital currency design options, including how such currencies would work across national borders.

The group’s formation isn’t a commitment to launch a central bank digital currency, but the coalition shows how far the idea has come and how much weight it has with central banks. Indeed, a survey conducted by the BIS a year ago found some 70 percent of central banks [PDF] had central bank digital currency projects in the works or underway.

Central banks have been researching what it would take to digitize fiat currencies for years, and a few are even beginning to launch pilots. But after last year’s announcement of Facebook-backed cryptocurrency, Libra, the pressure to act increased significantly.

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