Payments are changing at an accelerating pace. Users expect faster, easier payments anywhere and at any time, mirroring the digitalisation and convenience of other aspects of life. And, although paper-based payments like cheques and cash still play important roles, new technologies and market entrants are challenging the traditional bank-based payment systems. In addition to changes in how payments are made, even the type of money used could be changing. Across the world, central banks are reportedly thinking about how new central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) could replace traditional money. There is significant public interest in such a fundamental potential change, and this paper takes stock of central banks’ current work and thinking. It is based on a recent survey of central banks to which 63 responded (representing jurisdictions covering close to 80% of the world population). The survey asked central banks about their current work on CBDCs, what motivates that work, and how likely their issuance of a CBDC is. The survey shows that, although a majority of central banks are researching CBDCs, this work is primarily conceptual and only a few intend to issue a CBDC in the short to medium term.
- account-based varient- an account at the central bank for the general public. This would be widely available and primarily targeted at retail transactions
- token-based – a type of “digital cash” issued by the central bank for the general public
- token- or value-based variant – a restricted-access digital token for wholesale settlements