It is hard to imagine that just two years ago, the general discourse around central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, was mainly focused on the potential and possibility of issuing them. Even in 2019, the question was about whether we need state-owned cryptocurrencies, with only 70% of central banks worldwide studying the potential of issuing a CBDC, according to a survey published by the Bank for International Settlements at the beginning of 2019. But this year, everything is indeed different.
2020 started with a major event within the financial world: the World Economic Forum in Davos, where the WEF released a toolkit for policymakers regarding the creation of CBDCs. And according to a recent BIS report, 80% of the world’s central banks have already been evaluating CBDC adoption. The news that central banks worldwide had started actively researching, studying, testing, etc., kept coming every month this year: Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Estonia, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lithuania, Russia, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates, to name a few. Even Japan, which two years ago was among the major critics of central bank digital currency, changed its mind.