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Crypto Hits Mainstream Adoption: Full List of Countries Exploring CBDCs

3 mins
Updated by Michael Washburn
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In Brief

  • A study reveals that 130 countries, representing 98% of the global economy, are exploring the idea of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).
  • Factors like declining physical cash use, Bitcoin and "Big Tech" threats, and geopolitical tensions have accelerated the global push for CBDCs.
  • Although the United States and other countries lag in the digitalization race, the overall momentum towards CBDCs hints at a digital future for finance.
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The digital revolution has taken a giant stride, with cryptocurrencies reaching mainstream adoption. As an indicator of this change, a study shows that 130 countries, representing 98% of the global economy, are now actively exploring digital versions of their currencies, often called Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).

With the global financial system showing an ever-increasing shift towards CBDCs, a fascinating panorama of nations experimenting with digital money is unfolding.

The Global Financial System Turns Digital

Major economies such as the G20 nations, barring Argentina, have entered the advanced phases of CBDC development. The vanguard comprises eleven countries, including Caribbean nations and Nigeria, which have already launched their digital currencies.

The sheer scale of this endeavor is visible in China. Pilot testing of their CBDC covers 260 million people across 200 diverse scenarios ranging from e-commerce to government stimulus payments.

Market Size of CBDCs
Market Size of CBDCs. Source: Statista

Two other prominent emerging economies, India and Brazil, also plan to launch their digital currencies next year. The European Central Bank has been equally proactive, setting the groundwork for its digital euro-pilot with a possible launch in 2028.

In 2023 alone, over 20 countries will make substantial strides toward their CBDC pilots.

CBDCs Worldwide Adoption
CBDCs Worldwide Adoption. Source: Statista

While the United States is progressing on a wholesale bank-to-bank digital dollar, the retail version for the broader population has hit a roadblock. Despite this, the potential global consequences of any US move towards CBDCs are enormous, given the dollar’s heavyweight status in the global financial system.

Drivers Behind the Digitalization of Money

Several factors drive the global push for CBDCs. These include the declining use of physical cash and authorities’ desire to protect their money-printing powers against Bitcoin and “Big Tech” firms.

Even political events like sanctions on countries such as Russia and Venezuela propel the trend. Therefore, prompting even long-time US allies to seek alternatives to existing payment networks.

Value of Cashless Transactions Worldwide
Value of Cashless Transactions Worldwide. Source: Statista

Sweden, a European pioneer in CBDCs, continues its progress. Meanwhile, the Bank of England is working on a potential digital pound. Down under, Australia, Thailand, South Korea, and Russia persist with pilot testing.

However, the journey is not without its bumps. Some countries like Nigeria have witnessed disappointing take-up rates post-launch, while others like Senegal and Ecuador have shelved their development work.

Use Cases of Stablecoins and CBDCs
Use Cases of Stablecoins and CBDCs. Source: Statista

Currently, 64 countries are in an advanced exploration phase, while eleven have fully launched a digital currency.

CBDCs, the digital form of a country’s fiat currency, aim to promote financial inclusion, introduce competition in the domestic payments market, increase payment efficiency, and provide seamless execution of monetary and fiscal policies.

Full List of Countries Exploring CBDCs

The exploration of CBDCs is not just a technological evolution but also holds substantial economic and geopolitical implications. Here is the full list of countries exploring CBDCs:

  • Canada
  • United States
  • Mexico
  • Bermuda
  • The Bahamas
  • Belize 
  • Guatemala 
  • Honduras
  • Costa Rica
  • Jamaica
  • Haiti
  • Anguilla
  • Sint Maarten
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Montserrat 
  • Dominica
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Grenada
  • Curaçao
  • Venezuela
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Brazil 
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Peru
  • Paraguay 
  • Uruguay 
  • Argentina 
  • Chile
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • United Kingdom
  • Spain 
  • France
  • Switzerland 
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Netherlands
  • Austria
  • Czech Republic
  • Hungary
  • Montenegro
  • Denmark
  • Norway
  • Sweden 
  • Finland
  • Estonia
  • Lithuania
  • Belarus
  • Ukraine
  • Tunisia
  • Algeria 
  • Morocco
  • Senegal
  • Egypt
  • Eritrea
  • Chad
  • Nigeria
  • Benin
  • Ghana
  • Central African Republic
  • Cameroon
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Gabon
  • Uganda
  • Rwanda
  • Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • Madagascar
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
  • Botswana
  • Namibia
  • South Africa
  • Eswatini
  • Madagascar
  • Mauritius
  • Oman 
  • Saudi Arabia
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Qatar 
  • Bahrain 
  • Kuwait
  • Jordan
  • Palestine 
  • Israel
  • Lebanon
  • Russia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Georgia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Iran 
  • Pakistan 
  • India
  • Sri Lanka
  • Nepal 
  • Bangladesh 
  • Bhutan
  • Myanmar
  • Laos
  • Thailand 
  • Vietnam 
  • Cambodia
  • Hong Kong
  • China
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • Macau
  • Taiwan
  • South Korea
  • North Korea
  • Japan
  • Australia 
  • New Zeland 
  • Vanutau
  • Fiji
  • Solomon Island
  • Indonesia
  • Palau 
  • Philippines
  • Tonga

The New Era: Central Bank Digital Currencies

The introduction of CBDCs does come with its challenges. These range from potential bank runs and operational risks such as cyber-attacks to the necessity for complex regulatory frameworks that uphold privacy, consumer protection, and anti-money laundering standards.

National security implications must also be considered, as new payment systems could impact a nation’s ability to track cross-border flows and enforce sanctions.

Cross-Border Payments Market Worldwide
Cross-Border Payments Market Worldwide. Source: Statista

Despite these challenges, 2023 is a landmark year in CBDC exploration. With an expanding list of countries exploring CBDCs like Australia, Brazil, Japan, and Russia making significant progress, the future of digital currencies appears promising.

It seems certain that the digitalization of money is here to stay, signaling a paradigm shift in the world’s monetary system.

Top crypto platforms in the US | December 2023


Following the Trust Project guidelines, this feature article presents opinions and perspectives from industry experts or individuals. BeInCrypto is dedicated to transparent reporting, but the views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of BeInCrypto or its staff. Readers should verify information independently and consult with a professional before making decisions based on this content.

Bary Rahma
Bary Rahman, a talented journalist, graduated from New York University with a degree in Journalism. Skilled in SEO, she has worked with CNN, showcasing her investigative skills and storytelling abilities. In addition to her journalistic accomplishments, Bary has contributed her expertise as a content writer for Binance, crafting insightful articles on the dynamic crypto industry. Her unique fusion of journalism and SEO makes her a versatile and highly respected figure in the industry.