February has been a busy month for digital currencies. In China, the Winter 2022 Olympics has led to a wider rollout for China’s official digital currency, the digital yuan. Last week also saw India announce plans to launch a central bank-run blockchain version of the rupee in 2023.
As Verdict recently reported, India is only the latest country to jump on the central bank digital currency (CBDC) bandwagon. According to a 2020 survey from the Bank for International Settlements, 60% of central banks are conducting CBDC experiments and proofs-of-concept. Aside from China and India, other countries exploring digital currencies include Sweden, Estonia, the Bahamas and Nigeria.
“There is growing interest from many governments in developing their own digital currency – a decision motivated by the decline of cash and the ability to create a currency that is transparent, but also due to the need to create an alternative to cryptocurrencies and stablecoins,” as noted in a recent thematic report from GlobalData.
One nation, El Salvador, has rolled out national usage of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency with less than successful results and a rebuke from the IMF. In contrast, China’s digital yuan had over 260 million individual users within a few weeks of its expanded beta in the run-up to the Winter Olympics, with 87.5bn yuan ($13.78bn) worth of transactions already racked up.
What then for the future of digital currencies, whether cryptocoin-based or otherwise? Verdict finds out with Lizette Keller, partner at RSM El Salvador, an accounting firm with a supervisory capacity on that nation’s Bitcoin project.
Also lending their views are Chris Caruana, VP of AML at financial risk management and fraud prevention provider Feedzai, Michael Kamerman, Group CEO of trading platform Skilling, and Kristjan Kangro, CEO and founder of cryptocurrency investment platform Change who has been heavily involved in the Estonian government’s crypto regulation.