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Andre Reslow, Gabriel Soderberg, and Natsuki Tsuda

Many central banks are currently exploring the possibility of issuing retail central bank digital currency (CBDC). While the primary objective varies between jurisdictions, many central banks consider improved cross-border payments as a potential benefit and previous work has shown that CBDC can help overcome some of the frictions in cross-border payments. CBDC is a safe and liquid asset reducing the number of financial intermediaries and the settlement risk. Designing CBDC systems for cross-border payments is not fundamentally different from tailoring other payment systems. However, the roles and responsibilities might be slightly different in a CBDC system, and the central bank may play a more pivotal role given CBDC’s nature as public money as opposed to commercial bank money. This note draws lessons from ongoing experimentation and research to identify design and policy considerations when developing retail CBDC systems so it may be compatible for cross-border payments. The note focuses on retail CBDC—a CBDC primarily targeting households and non-financial firms—and leaves wholesale CBDC considerations for future work, although many of the discussions are applicable to wholesale CBDC and other forms of money as well.

Andre Reslow, Gabriel Soderberg, and Natsuki Tsuda
Many central banks are currently exploring the possibility of issuing retail central bank digital currency (CBDC). While the primary objective varies between jurisdictions, many central banks consider improved cross-border payments as a potential benefit and previous work has shown that CBDC can help overcome some of the frictions in cross-border payments. CBDC is a safe and liquid asset reducing the number of financial intermediaries and the settlement risk. Designing CBDC systems for cross-border payments is not fundamentally different from tailoring other payment systems. However, the roles and responsibilities might be slightly different in a CBDC system, and the central bank may play a more pivotal role given CBDC’s nature as public money as opposed to commercial bank money. This note draws lessons from ongoing experimentation and research to identify design and policy considerations when developing retail CBDC systems so it may be compatible for cross-border payments. The note focuses on retail CBDC—a CBDC primarily targeting households and non-financial firms—and leaves wholesale CBDC considerations for future work, although many of the discussions are applicable to wholesale CBDC and other forms of money as well.
Andre Reslow, Gabriel Soderberg, and Natsuki Tsuda
Luca A Ricci, Calixte Ahokpossi, Anna Belianska, Khushboo Khandelwal, Sunwoo Lee, Grace B Li, Yibin Mu, Saad N Quayyum, Silvia G Nunez, Jack J Ree, Marcos Rietti Souto, and Felix F. Simione
Luca A Ricci, Calixte Ahokpossi, Anna Belianska, Khushboo Khandelwal, Sunwoo Lee, Grace B Li, Yibin Mu, Saad N Quayyum, Silvia G Nunez, Jack J Ree, Marcos Rietti Souto, and Felix F. Simione
This Fintech Note reports key findings from the Sub-Saharan Africa Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and Digital Payments Survey, shedding light on the motivations, benefits, and challenges of CBDC adoption, as well as the developments of digital private money and crypto assets in sub-Saharan Africa. It emphasizes the pivotal role of collaboration and shared knowledge in navigating the intricate landscape of digital currencies and assets in sub-Saharan Africa. As this evolving digital frontier is explored, the experiences and aspirations of the region’s central banks, as expressed in the survey, will help harness the potential for digital currencies, assets, and payments, and foster cooperation among countries in sub-Saharan Africa. A forthcoming IMF Departmental Paper will focus on key issues for countries in sub-Saharan Africa pertaining to CBDCs, private digital payments, and crypto assets. It will provide a deeper discussion of the benefits, costs, and risks of these digital payment systems and present policy options to enhance financial digital development and inclusion, while safeguarding macroeconomic and financial stability.
Luca A Ricci, Calixte Ahokpossi, Anna Belianska, Khushboo Khandelwal, Sunwoo Lee, Grace B Li, Yibin Mu, Saad N Quayyum, Silvia G Nunez, Jack J Ree, Marcos Rietti Souto, and Felix F. Simione
Alexander Copestake, Anh Le, Mr. Evan Papageorgiou, and Brandon Tan
To explore risks associated with digital money, this Fintech Note simulates the hypothetical large-scale adoption of crypto assets in a model of a small open economy. The model highlights that a foreign-currency denominated stablecoin can amplify currency substitution and capital outflows in response to negative shocks. Monetary policy transmission is also weakened, forcing the central bank to adjust interest rates more aggressively in response to shocks. Capital flow management measures—if they do not constrain crypto flows—further incentivize households to hold foreign stablecoins for circumvention purposes, exacerbating the negative effects of crypto adoption on the macroeconomy. This underscores that widespread crypto adoption can weaken policymakers’ available options for mitigating external shocks and potentially increase cross-country spillovers.
Alexander Copestake, Anh Le, Mr. Evan Papageorgiou, and Brandon Tan
Alexander Copestake, Anh Le, Mr. Evan Papageorgiou, and Brandon Tan

To explore risks associated with digital money, this Fintech Note simulates the hypothetical large-scale adoption of crypto assets in a model of a small open economy. The model highlights that a foreign-currency denominated stablecoin can amplify currency substitution and capital outflows in response to negative shocks. Monetary policy transmission is also weakened, forcing the central bank to adjust interest rates more aggressively in response to shocks. Capital flow management measures—if they do not constrain crypto flows—further incentivize households to hold foreign stablecoins for circumvention purposes, exacerbating the negative effects of crypto adoption on the macroeconomy. This underscores that widespread crypto adoption can weaken policymakers’ available options for mitigating external shocks and potentially increase cross-country spillovers.

Ashley Lannquist and Brandon Tan

Financial inclusion is a key policy objective that central banks, especially those in emerging and low-income countries, are considering for retail central bank digital currency (CBDC). If properly designed to address the barriers to financial inclusion, CBDCs have the opportunity to gain acceptance by the financially excluded for digital payments. CBDC can then serve as an entry point to the broader formal financial system. CBDC has special aspects that may benefit financial inclusion, such as being a risk-free and widely acceptable form of digital money, availability for offline payments, and potentially lower costs and greater accessibility. However, CBDC is not a panacea to financial inclusion, and additional experience is needed to fully understand its potential impact.