Eighty-one countries are exploring central bank digital currencies, according to a new tracker.
The Atlantic Council’s Geoeconomics Center recently unveiled a new central bank digital currency tracker featuring an interactive database.
According to Bitcoin.com, there were only 35 countries in the world set to launch their central bank-backed CBDC in May last year, and five countries have fully launched their own digital currencies.
According to its website, the Geoeconomics Center described itself as “a nonpartisan organisation that galvanises US leadership and engagement in the world, in partnership with allies and partners, to shape solutions to global challenges.”
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An original version of the CBDC tracker, launched in April last year, had been used by the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of International Settlements, the centre said.
These 81 countries represent over 90 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product.
According to the centre, of the countries with the four largest central banks (the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan, and the Bank of England), the United States is furthest behind in developing a state-backed digital currency.
The Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell, had said in February that the digital dollar was a “very high priority” for the Fed.
However, he had emphasised the need to “get it right,” instead of rushing to launch a digital dollar, particularly to compete with China’s digital yuan.
According to the centre, the five countries that have fully launched a digital currency are the Bahamas, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, and Grenada.
The centre added that “14 other countries, including major economies like Sweden and South Korea, are now in the pilot stage with their CBDCs and preparing a possible full launch.”
The Director of the Geoeconomics Center and former senior advisor at the International Monetary Fund, Josh Lipsky, said, “Before COVID, central bank digital currencies were largely a theoretical exercise.
“But with the need to distribute unprecedented monetary and fiscal stimulus around the world, combined with the rise of cryptocurrencies, central banks have quickly realised they cannot let the evolution of money pass them by.”
In Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria has since announced that it is working on a digital currency.
The CBN recently said it would launch the pilot scheme of its digital currency on October 1, 2021.