What are the benefits of CBDCs?  Why should they be studied and developed? 

According to the survey conducted by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in 2021, central banks’ interest in Retail CBDC has grown over recent years. While central banks in emerging market economies (EMs) are more interested in exploring the potential use of Retail CBDC to replace or reduce cash usage, increase the efficiency and safety of domestic payment systems, and promote the access to digital finance services, central banks in advanced economies (AEs) are interested in using Retail CBDC as an alternative payment to enhance the safety, resiliency, and availability of payment systems.

          The BOT views Retail CBDC to have various benefits such as:

1. Acting as part of the infrastructure to provide financial service providers with the opportunity to develop and improve their financial services. This will increase the opportunity for the business sectors and general public to gain access to financial services with ease, modern, and with more variety. Retail CBDC can easily connect with and is interoperable, which is different from the current financial system that has obstacles with connectivity and development of different financial services.

2. Accommodating financial innovation and financial technological development from the private sector. The development of Retail CBDC also takes into account systematic capacity to accommodate financial transactions conditions such as CBDC and Tokenized assets (Programmable payment/money) which allows to expansion in innovation from financial service providers and is highly beneficial for the future.

3. Protecting the balance between public and private finance. In the past several years, the rapid transition towards digital society has increased the role of digital money issued by the private sector (private money). Even though private money may address private sector transactions that are increasingly more complicated, however, there remains the issues of safety and risk. Therefore, CBDC is one channel that the general public can access public money that are considered risk-free money to fully accommodate digital financial transactions.

          Furthermore, the transition of the private sector towards digital money may lead to monopolization of payment systems from over-reliance on certain private financial service provider. This may give such provider too much influence over the financial system and may impact domestic financial stability. Therefore, the issuance of Retail CBDC by central banks as an alternative digital money plays a role in increasing the balance between private money and public money. More importantly, Retail CBDC still preserves all the characteristics of public money, including trust in its safety, high liquidity, providing systematic stability, and can even act as a lender of last resort during financial crisis to prevent financial intermediaries from incurring liquidity problems leading to a wide contagion effect.  

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