Australia’s central bank is not buying into the growing call among several countries to float their own central bank digital currency (CBDC).
With China already bootstrapping adoption of its digital yuan to millions of citizens, other countries are moving ahead to test their own experimental CBDCs.
RBA Downplays Policy Use Case for Retail CBDC
Speaking at the UWA Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference, Tony Richards, Payments Policy chief at the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) argued that Australia’s central bank does not yet see the need to issue a CBDC.
According to a transcript of his speech published on Oct. 14 by the RBA, Richards opined:
“The Bank’s view is that no strong public policy case has yet emerged for the introduction of a CBDC for general use.”
For Richards, Australia already has a robust payment network that caters to the needs of individuals and corporations alike. Thus, the RBA does not see a retail CBDC providing any significant improvement to the country’s existing settlement infrastructure.
Despite downplaying the need for a retail CBDC, Richards revealed that the RBA is monitoring the developments surrounding sovereign digital currencies. According to the RBA executive, Australia’s central bank is positioning itself to be a “fast follower” if CBDCs turn out to hold tangible benefits.
As part of efforts to better understand the technological and policy implications of a national digital currency, Richards revealed that the RBA is running experiments on a “wholesale” CBDC. The RBA is reportedly partnering with external parties to develop a proof-of-concept for digital currency payment systems.
Asia’s CBDC Race
As previously reported by BeInCrypto, the CBDC race is heating up, especially in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. China is live-testing its planned digital currency electronic payment (DCEP) project.
The DCEP has already facilitated over $160 million in payments from about 3 million transactions across the country. Earlier in October, the Shenzhen government airdropped 10 million digital yuan ($1.5 million) to 50,000 lucky residents of the metropolis.
Japan and South Korea are also making steady progress in the CBDC arena. Both nations reportedly plan to test their experimental national digital currencies in 2021. Japan’s central bank may also receive a special legislative amendment to enable it to issue a digital yen.