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Mrs. Sarwat Jahan, Ms. Elena Loukoianova, Mr. Evan Papageorgiou, Ms. Natasha X Che, Ankita Goel, Mike Li, Umang Rawat, and Yong Sarah Zhou
Drawing on survey responses from 34 Asian economies and country case studies, this note takes stock of recent developments related to central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and crypto assets in Asia. The survey finds that there is significant heterogeneity in terms of stage of development, but the emergence of private crypto assets has created an impetus to consider CBDCs. While most countries are engaged in research and development, with some at advanced stages of testing and pilots, very few countries are likely to issue CBDCs in the near-to-medium term, reflecting the still considerable uncertainties. Still, country experiences so far provide some key insights for others in their journey in this area.
Mrs. Sarwat Jahan, Ms. Elena Loukoianova, Mr. Evan Papageorgiou, Ms. Natasha X Che, Ankita Goel, Mike Li, Umang Rawat, Yong Sarah Zhou, and Ankita Goel
Mrs. Sarwat Jahan, Ms. Elena Loukoianova, Mr. Evan Papageorgiou, Ms. Natasha X Che, Ankita Goel, Mike Li, Umang Rawat, Yong Sarah Zhou, and Ankita Goel

Drawing on survey responses from 34 Asian economies and country case studies, this note takes stock of recent developments related to central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and crypto assets in Asia. The survey finds that there is significant heterogeneity in terms of stage of development, but the emergence of private crypto assets has created an impetus to consider CBDCs. While most countries are engaged in research and development, with some at advanced stages of testing and pilots, very few countries are likely to issue CBDCs in the near-to-medium term, reflecting the still considerable uncertainties. Still, country experiences so far provide some key insights for others in their journey in this area.

Parma Bains, Arif Ismail, Fabiana Melo, and Nobuyasu Sugimoto
Unbacked crypto assets are the oldest and most popular type of crypto assets, relying not on any backing asset for value but instead on supply and demand. They were originally developed to democratize payments but are mostly used for speculation. Crypto assets were designed to disintermediate financial services, but centralized entities, such as exchanges and wallet providers, offer key functions to users and sustain the necessity of trust in one or several entities. At present, many of these entities are not covered by existing conduct, prudential, or payment regulations and can generate risks to market integrity, market conduct, and potential financial stability. We recommend that global bodies work to develop common taxonomies that can inform global and cross-sectoral standards while improving data insights. Standards should be risk-based, with greater requirements on entities and activities that generate more risk. Crypto asset service providers that deliver core functions and generate key risks should be licensed, registered, or authorized.
Parma Bains, Arif Ismail, Fabiana Melo, and Nobuyasu Sugimoto
Stablecoins have experienced periods of rapid growth, accelerated links with traditional finance. Without proper regulation, contagion risks to wider financial sector will increase. Global regulation for stablecoins should be comprehensive, consistent, risk-based, flexible, and focus on their structural features and use. Requirements on stablecoins should cover the entire ecosystem and all its key functions, and there should be additional oversight for systemic stablecoin arrangements. In markets where risks are growing quickly, authorities should take immediate action by using all the tools at their disposal. This note provides key elements that should feature in any regulatory arrangement. For effective implementation, domestic and international collaboration are key.
Parma Bains, Arif Ismail, Fabiana Melo, and Nobuyasu Sugimoto
Parma Bains, Arif Ismail, Fabiana Melo, and Nobuyasu Sugimoto
Parma Bains, Arif Ismail, Fabiana Melo, and Nobuyasu Sugimoto

Stablecoins have experienced periods of rapid growth, accelerated links with traditional finance. Without proper regulation, contagion risks to wider financial sector will increase. Global regulation for stablecoins should be comprehensive, consistent, risk-based, flexible, and focus on their structural features and use. Requirements on stablecoins should cover the entire ecosystem and all its key functions, and there should be additional oversight for systemic stablecoin arrangements. In markets where risks are growing quickly, authorities should take immediate action by using all the tools at their disposal. This note provides key elements that should feature in any regulatory arrangement. For effective implementation, domestic and international collaboration are key.

Parma Bains, Arif Ismail, Fabiana Melo, and Nobuyasu Sugimoto

Unbacked crypto assets are the oldest and most popular type of crypto assets, relying not on any backing asset for value but instead on supply and demand. They were originally developed to democratize payments but are mostly used for speculation. Crypto assets were designed to disintermediate financial services, but centralized entities, such as exchanges and wallet providers, offer key functions to users and sustain the necessity of trust in one or several entities. At present, many of these entities are not covered by existing conduct, prudential, or payment regulations and can generate risks to market integrity, market conduct, and potential financial stability. We recommend that global bodies work to develop common taxonomies that can inform global and cross-sectoral standards while improving data insights. Standards should be risk-based, with greater requirements on entities and activities that generate more risk. Crypto asset service providers that deliver core functions and generate key risks should be licensed, registered, or authorized.

Mr. Itai Agur, Jose Deodoro, Xavier Lavayssière, Soledad Martinez Peria, Mr. Damiano Sandri, Hervé Tourpe, and Mr. German Villegas Bauer

Whether in crypto assets or in CBDCs, design choices can make an important difference to the energy consumption of digital currencies. This paper establishes the main components and technological options that determine the energy profile of digital currencies. It draws on academic and industry estimates to compare digital currencies to each other and to existing payment systems and derives implications for the design of environmentally friendly CBDCs. For distributed ledger technologies, the key factors affecting energy consumption are the ability to control participation and the consensus algorithm. While crypto assets like Bitcoin are wasteful in terms of resources, other designs could be more energy efficient than existing payment systems.