A central bank digital currency, or CBDC, is a digital version of a region’s fiat currency, put out by the region’s monetary authority. CBDCs gained a significant spotlight in 2020, with numerous countries expressing interest in their own versions of the asset type. Some countries pushed faster than others toward their own native digital currency. China, for example, moved quickly toward the prospect of its own CBDC, called the digital yuan.

The Bahamas burst on the central bank digital currency market in 2020 with the first CBDC. Called the Sand Dollar, the country’s CBDC is a national digital currency for the region, holding the same value as the Bahamian dollar. CBDCs differ from crypto-native stablecoins put out by crypto industry entities. Such stablecoins aim to track the value of underlying assets, such as the U.S. dollar, although the stablecoins themselves are not official regional currencies and are often overseen by companies.