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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.
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.
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.
Mr. Dong He, Annamaria Kokenyne, Mr. Tommaso Mancini Griffoli, Mr. Marcello Miccoli, Mr. Thorvardur Tjoervi Olafsson, Gabriel Soderberg, and Hervé Tourpe
This fintech note looks at how capital flow measures (CFMs) could be implemented with central bank digital currency (CBDC), and what benefits, risks and complexities could arise. There are several implications of the analysis. First, CBDC ecosystems should generally be designed such that they can accommodate the introduction of CFMs. Second, thanks to the programmability of the payment infrastructure given by the new digital technologies, certain CFMs could likely be implemented more efficiently and effectively with CBDC compared to the traditional system. Third, implementing CFMs requires central banks to collaborate on practices and standards. Finally, CFMs on CBDC need to operate alongside traditional CFMs.
Ms. Mitali Das, Mr. Tommaso Mancini Griffoli, Fumitaka Nakamura, Ms. Julia Otten, Gabriel Soderberg, Mr. Juan Sole, and Brandon Tan
This fintech note presents an analysis of the implications of central bank digital currency (CBDC) for monetary policy. In our framework, the implications of CBDC issuance on monetary policy are intermediated by its impact on key parts of the macroeconomic environment. The note also makes a distinction between “level effects”—whereby the introduction of CBDCs could tighten or loosen financial conditions as a shock—and “transmission effects,” whereby CBDCs change the impact of a given monetary policy shock on output, employment, and inflation. In general, the effects of CBDCs on monetary policy transmission are expected to be relatively small in normal times; however, these effects can be more significant in an environment with low interest rates or financial market stress.
Hervé Tourpe, Ashley Lannquist, and Gabriel Soderberg
As central bank digital currency (CBDC) projects progress around the world, there is increased need for a project management methodology that is appropriate for CBDC. This paper develops a CBDC-specific project management methodology that establishes a common terminology and offers guidance to development teams on best practices for addressing the complex requirements and risks associated with CBDC. It is centered on an original five-step approach called the “5P Methodology”: preparation, proof-of-concept, prototypes, pilots, and production. The methodology emphasizes a phased approach to CBDC research and development, with strong focus on research preparation, experimentation and testing, risk management, stakeholder engagement, and cyber resilience.
Gabriel Soderberg, Mr. John Kiff, Hervé Tourpe, Ms. Marianne Bechara, Stephanie Forte, Kathleen Kao, Ashley Lannquist, Tao Sun, and Akihiro Yoshinaga
Digitalization of the economy provides both challenges and opportunities. Central banks should ensure that they have the capacity to continue to meet their policy objectives in the digital age. It is in this context that central bank digital currency (CBDC) should be evaluated. If designed appropriately, CBDCs could allow central banks to modernize payment systems and future-proof central bank money as the pace and shape of digitalization continues to evolve. However, the decision to proceed with CBDC exploration and an eventual launch would need to be jurisdiction specific, depending on the degree of digitalization of the economy, the legal and regulatory frameworks, and the central bank’s internal capacity. This paper proposes a dynamic decision-making framework under which the central bank can make decisions under uncertainty. A phased and iterative approach could allow central banks to adjust the pace, scale, and scope of their CBDC projects as the domestic and international environment changes.