Digital Currencies: Governments Embrace the Future of Money

Why are Governments going digital? Suffice it to say there is a looming shift in the finance world – a major one, for that matter. Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) are quickly capturing the attention of monetary authorities worldwide. This is especially true with an astonishing 90% of Central Banks exploring their own CBDC, according to a report by McKinsey

The once-unimaginable possibility of governments issuing digital assets as fiat currency is fast becoming a reality. Hence, the value of CBDC payments could surge to a hefty $213bn (£165 billion) by 2030 – an impressive 260,000% increase.

A Response to Our Cashless Society

The growing interest in digital assets is a ripple response to sweeping changes in our economies. Cash usage worldwide is plummeting – as low as 3% in Norway – as digital currency adoption surges. A report by Ripple revealed that over three-quarters of global finance decision-makers believe that Cryptocurrencies and CBDCs can cater to their business needs better than traditional currency.

Ownership of digital assets is the new trend: 10% of households in the EU, 14% in the US, 20% in Brazil and 22% in India, illustrating a significant growth in the sector. By adopting CBDCs, governments can future-proof their economies, ensure financial access to citizens and maintain a tight grip on exchange processes.

China on the Frontline

So far, China is leading in the CBDC race, utilizing the Digital Yuan in its pursuit of a cashless society, facilitated by platforms like WeChat Pay that transact over $1bn (£780 million) a day. Even as the Digital Yuan records monthly transactions north of $3.6bn (£2.8bn), the journey towards an entirely cashless economy persists.

Yet, the potential of CBDCs isn’t lost on smaller economies. An example is Palau, where some transactions still require loading physical cash onto boats whilst navigating the nation’s 500 islands. For them, CBDCs represent a chance to edge towards a digital era filled with future-proof tech solutions.

The Perks of CBDCs

The UK government upgrade to CBDCs from fiat currency presents undeniable advantages, including:

  • Enhanced efficiency.
  • Fiscal inclusion.
  • Oversight.
  • Transparency. 
  • Enforcement.
  • Cost-effectiveness. 

Essentially, it is nothing short of a complete modernization of the very infrastructure of money.

CBDCs can play a huge role towards the betterment of payment processes – domestically and across borders. Hence, seconds-long transactions instead of those that take up to days or weeks to mature. What’s more, CBDCs grant Central Banks total control over fiscal and monetary policies and at the same time, preserve the convenience of contactless payments for citizens. If executed well, the Government’s use of Blockchain technology in the context of CBDCs also promises to eradicate fraudulent activities.

Typically, the burden of innovation in products and services seems likely to rest on the private sector’s shoulders. “Collaboration between the public and private sectors is critical,” says James Wallis, Vice-President of Central Bank Engagements at Ripple.

Commercial banks are likely to play an important role in consumer and end-user adoption due to their close customer relationships, vast knowledge and the possibility of facilitating interbank settlements using wholesale CBDCs and enabling end-users to hold digital wallets for CBDC transactions.

While countries like China are leading the way, the UK and other countries could capitalize on the opportunity based on their economic capabilities and the potential advantages of CBDCs.

The emergence of CBDCs on a global scale is now and here to stay. The pertinent question is not if but when these digital currencies will revolutionize our financial systems. Gear up for the future – the digital dawn of Currencies is here.

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Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.