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Central bank digital currencies (CBDC) - statistics & facts

The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing are expected to be more than just a sports event: Around this same time, predictions are that it will also introduce the world to the digital Yuan or e-CNY. This digital coin is a so-called Central Bank Digital Currency, or CBDC: A virtual currency created and issued by a central bank. What differs crypto and CBDC is that cryptocurrencies are decentralized, with prices of crypto like Bitcoin and Ethereum being linked to fiat currency like the U.S. dollar. CBDC, however, can be the fiat currency, potentially becoming a digital version of cash money issued by the same central bank. This makes CBDC drastically different from digital payment services - AliPay or PayPal - as well as privately created coins - Bitcoin or Facebook’s Diem. It can also have significant consequences, as some fiat currencies were more common in foreign exchange reserves than others. Why, then, are central banks investigating these currencies, and how a far along is this development?

Let’s get digital

There seem to be two main arguments why central banks want to create their own digital currency. One argument looks to include people without a bank account in the payment digitalization process. This applies to Africa - where less than half of the continent’s population is predicted to have a bank account by 2022 – and Latin America. Jamaica’s Central Bank, for example, want to release its own CBDC in early 2022 for this exact reason. The second argument comes from how fast the payment landscape is changing. Take Europe, for instance, where the share of cash in stores decreased in nearly all euro area countries. Sweden’s Riksbank fears the use of cash money – public money with a certain level of trust - declines too fast. US Federal Reserve Chairman Nick Powell said that “the public needs to understand the risks” of cryptocurrencies. Here, a “public” digital coin can safeguard consumer trust. Additionally, it could increase competition with tech giants: in China, AliPay and WeChat rank in the top three of most used apps.

Where is CBDC as of 2021?

According to a 2021 index, China's developments in replacing banknotes with digital currency for consumers ranked behind developments in Cambodia and the Bahamas. The projects in those two countries – project Bakong and the Sand Dollar, respectively – officially launched in October 2020, with both aiming to make digital money more easily accessible. On the other hand, central banks in countries like Canada or the United Kingdom are investigating in blockchain technology to optimize banking processes rather than for a digital coin. One reason why, could be that consumers in the EU were concerned about privacy when a “digital euro” might release in the future.

Key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Central bank digital currencies" and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

Share of cash in POS

Currency in circulation

Other interesting statistics

Central bank digital currencies (CBDC) - statistics & facts

The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing are expected to be more than just a sports event: Around this same time, predictions are that it will also introduce the world to the digital Yuan or e-CNY. This digital coin is a so-called Central Bank Digital Currency, or CBDC: A virtual currency created and issued by a central bank. What differs crypto and CBDC is that cryptocurrencies are decentralized, with prices of crypto like Bitcoin and Ethereum being linked to fiat currency like the U.S. dollar. CBDC, however, can be the fiat currency, potentially becoming a digital version of cash money issued by the same central bank. This makes CBDC drastically different from digital payment services - AliPay or PayPal - as well as privately created coins - Bitcoin or Facebook’s Diem. It can also have significant consequences, as some fiat currencies were more common in foreign exchange reserves than others. Why, then, are central banks investigating these currencies, and how a far along is this development?

Let’s get digital

There seem to be two main arguments why central banks want to create their own digital currency. One argument looks to include people without a bank account in the payment digitalization process. This applies to Africa - where less than half of the continent’s population is predicted to have a bank account by 2022 – and Latin America. Jamaica’s Central Bank, for example, want to release its own CBDC in early 2022 for this exact reason. The second argument comes from how fast the payment landscape is changing. Take Europe, for instance, where the share of cash in stores decreased in nearly all euro area countries. Sweden’s Riksbank fears the use of cash money – public money with a certain level of trust - declines too fast. US Federal Reserve Chairman Nick Powell said that “the public needs to understand the risks” of cryptocurrencies. Here, a “public” digital coin can safeguard consumer trust. Additionally, it could increase competition with tech giants: in China, AliPay and WeChat rank in the top three of most used apps.

Where is CBDC as of 2021?

According to a 2021 index, China's developments in replacing banknotes with digital currency for consumers ranked behind developments in Cambodia and the Bahamas. The projects in those two countries – project Bakong and the Sand Dollar, respectively – officially launched in October 2020, with both aiming to make digital money more easily accessible. On the other hand, central banks in countries like Canada or the United Kingdom are investigating in blockchain technology to optimize banking processes rather than for a digital coin. One reason why, could be that consumers in the EU were concerned about privacy when a “digital euro” might release in the future.

Other interesting statistics

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