Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) are on their way. But China, which is often touted as the most advanced country in terms of CBDC development, won’t be the first to release one.
That’s according to a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The Big Four accounting firm, instead, claims that the country with the most advanced CBDC project is the Bahamas, with its Sand Dollar.
As of last year, all residents in the country can now access the currency’s digital wallet through a mobile application or a physical payment card.
But in Mainland China, the project is still in trial stages, according to PwC: an estimated launch timeline is yet to be disclosed and not all of the country’s citizens can access the currency.
That isn’t to say that China’s digital yuan won’t be the most impactful CBDC, though, once it’s fully rolled out. China’s economy is the second largest in the world—the Bahamas ranks 130th. And other countries are getting worried—including the US—about China’s progress with its digital native currency.
The Bank of Japan last year said one of its primary reasons for expediting research into its own digital currency was the perceived threat of China’s digital yuan. Last week, however, the Bank said it doesn’t believe a Chinese CBDC could threaten the US dollar.
CBDCs are digital versions of a fiat currency (like the euro or US dollar), backed by a central bank. Countries around the world are currently researching the benefits of developing central bank digital currencies.
Over 60 central banks are exploring CBDCs, according to PwC, and “progress has been accelerating” with their development within the last year.