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Digital Dollar Project to launch 5 CBDC pilots

The United States’ is moving towards creating its own Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) or “digital dollar” and will launch five pilots in the coming year. The pilots will be conducted by the Digital Dollar Project, which is backed by the Digital Dollar Foundation and consulting firm Accenture, according to a press release.

Last month, China said it was moving into the second-phase of its digital yuan project and is also looking to support cross-border payments using the digital currency. The prospect of the digital yuan becoming an important currency for global trade has prompted rival countries to also launch their own CBDCs. If China’s digital yuan is widely adopted, the influence of the United States’ and other western governments would diminish. Around 80% of the world’s central banks are engaged in research or experimentation toward developing a CBDC, according to a survey by the Bank for International Settlements.

“The Digital Dollar Project (DDP) will launch at least five pilot programs over the next 12 months with interested stakeholders and DDP participants to measure the value of and inform the future design of a U.S. central bank digital currency (CBDC), or “digital dollar,” the foundation said. The pilots will involve the participation of financial firms, retailers and other entities, it said.

It is important to note that the DDP is a not-for-profit effort by the private sector to create a CBDC or digital dollar; the US Federal Reserve and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are working together to build a technology platform for the proposed digital dollar. The DDP will complement the Fed-MIT project by generating data on the functional, sociological, business uses and benefits of a CBDC, it said.

The DDP was co-founded by Christopher Giancarlo, the former chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. “The U.S. doesn’t need to be first to the central bank digital currency, but it does need to be a leader in setting standards for the digital future of money, which is why our pilot testing collaboration with Accenture and other partners is so critical. We need to better understand how to balance the complex issues of a CBDC and how to incorporate key societal values, like privacy rights, financial inclusion and rule of law,” he said.

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“The pilots, for which Accenture is providing the first phase of funding, will explore, analyse and identify technical and functional requirements; assess benefits and outstanding challenges; test applications and approaches; and consider potential use cases for both retail and wholesale commercial utilization,” the foundation said. It added that the results of the pilots will be shared publicly for use by academics and for policy considerations by the US Congress.

“Central bank digital currencies will play an important role in how we modernize our financial systems — increasing access to and inclusion within them while also providing a valuable innovation frontier for new products and services in conjunction with other key innovations such as digital identity,” said David Treat, senior managing director, Accenture.


MediaNama has prepared a guide on crypto-currency regulations in India, listing the government’s position over the last few years and various policy recommendations; read it here: A complete low-down on crypto-currency regulation in India.

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