Payments Report 2021

New opportunities and challenges with money in new forms

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The first central bank digital currency has been launched

Published: 3 November 2021

The Riksbank was one of the first central banks to take an interest in the possibility of issuing a central bank digital currency. Interest in this issue has grown rapidly in recent years, and now most central banks are investigating the possibility of central bank digital currencies. The Bahamas was the first to issue a central bank digital currency and a further few countries appear to be on the verge of an introduction.

Many countries investigating central bank digital currencies

The figure shows different countries’ work on central bank digital currencies. Many countries are working on analyses, technical tests or pilot projects.

* Eastern Caribbean Central Bank
Note: The ECCB has an ongoing pilot project that is available to all, and therefore classified as “live” by the BIS.
Source: Bank for International Settlements (BIS), 2021.

Increasing number of countries implementing technical tests

Many central banks are still doing a lot of work regarding analysis and research, but have also begun in recent years to test different types of technical solutions for central bank digital currencies. According to the Bank for International Settlements most recent survey on central banks’ ongoing work on central bank digital currencies, 60 per cent of the responding central banks are testing prototypes, what are known as proof of concept, while 14 per cent have taken a step further and are implementing pilot tests. The Riksbank is now implementing technical tests together with Accenture, to learn more about how a technical solution for an e-krona might look (see Test of technical solution for an e-krona).