More than 80% of central banks are interested in launching a central bank digital currency (CBDC) or have already done so, according to research conducted by accounting firm PwC.
The second annual Global CBDC Index report released on Monday measures a central bank‘s level of maturity in deploying its own digital currency. The report also included an overview of stablecoins for the first time.
Haydn Jones, blockchain and crypto specialist at PwC UK stated in the report that “over 80% of central banks are considering launching a CBDC or have already done so.”
The report ranks both retail CBDCs, ones that are issued for use by the general public and wholesale CBDCs for use by financial institutions holding with the central bank, out of 100.
Retail CBDCs have reached a greater level of maturity in comparison to their wholesale counterparts, according to the report. Nigeria’s “eNaira”, for example, received a score of 95, marking it as the most developed across both the retail and wholesale categories.
Also of note in the retail category was the Bahamas, the first country ever to launch a CBDC — the Sand Dollar. The Jamaican Jam-Dex is slated for launch this year, and Thailand made the list for its development and testing of a CBDC announced last August.
Thailand and Hong Kong topped the wholesale category for their joint mBridge project focused on cross-border payments, Singapore and France also ranked highly for their continued exploration of CBDC projects.
Jones also commented on the level of maturity and preparedness that central banks around the world are currently at. He said:
“Countries are at differing levels of maturity with CBDCs and each country has different motivating factors. Increasing financial inclusion, facilitating cross border payments and controlling financial crime are all factors that come into play. We expect CBDC research, testing and implementation will intensify in 2022.”
The report provided an overview of the top ten USD-pegged stablecoins by market cap and discussed how they function and what they’re backed by.
It noted that stablecoins have become an “integral part of the crypto ecosystem” and it is “impossible” for any fund or institution “to be active in crypto without using stablecoins.”