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Central bank digital currency: the quest for minimally invasive technology

Author

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  • Raphael Auer
  • Rainer Boehme

Abstract

CBDCs should let central banks provide a universal means of payment for the digital era. At the same time, such currencies must safeguard consumer privacy and maintain the two-tier financial system. We set out the economic and operational requirements for a "minimally invasive" design – one that preserves the private sector's primary role in retail payments and financial intermediation – for CBDCs and discuss the implications for the underlying technology. Developments inspired by popular cryptocurrency systems do not meet these requirements. Instead, cash is the model for CBDC design. Showing particular promise are digital banknotes that run on "intermediated" or "hybrid" CBDC architectures, supported with technology to facilitate record-keeping of direct claims on the central bank by private sector entities. Their economic design should emphasise the use of the CBDC as medium of exchange but needs to limit its appeal as a savings vehicle. In the process, a novel trade-off for central banks emerges: they can operate either a complex technical infrastructure or a complex supervisory regime. There are many ways to proceed, but all require central banks to develop substantial technological expertise.

Suggested Citation

  • Raphael Auer & Rainer Boehme, 2021. "Central bank digital currency: the quest for minimally invasive technology," BIS Working Papers 948, Bank for International Settlements.
  • Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:948
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Milena Vučinić & Radoica Luburić, 2022. "Fintech, Risk-Based Thinking and Cyber Risk," Journal of Central Banking Theory and Practice, Central bank of Montenegro, vol. 11(2), pages 27-53.
    2. Paulo Rupino Cunha & Paulo Melo & Helder Sebastião, 2021. "From Bitcoin to Central Bank Digital Currencies: Making Sense of the Digital Money Revolution," Future Internet, MDPI, vol. 13(7), pages 1-19, June.
    3. Bogusław Nierenberg & Paweł Frącz, 2022. "O zarządzaniu informacją jako podstawowym, nie tylko medialnym, zasobie XXI w," Bank i Kredyt, Narodowy Bank Polski, vol. 53(3), pages 279-294.
    4. Cyril Monnet & Hyun Song Shin & Jon Frost & Leonardo Gambacorta & Raphael Auer & Tara Rice, 2022. "Central Bank Digital Currencies: Motives, Economic Implications, and the Research Frontier," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 14(1), pages 697-721, August.
    5. Chen, Hongyi & Siklos, Pierre L., 2022. "Central bank digital currency: A review and some macro-financial implications," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 60(C).
    6. Kwami Ahiabenu, 2022. "A Comparative Study of the Design Frameworks of the Ghanaian and Nigerian Central Banks’ Digital Currencies (CBDC)," FinTech, MDPI, vol. 1(3), pages 1-15, August.
    7. Svetlana Abramova & Rainer Böhme & Helmut Elsinger & Helmut Stix & Martin Summer, 2022. "What can CBDC designers learn from asking potential users? Results from a survey of Austrian residents (Svetlana Abramova, Rainer Böhme, Helmut Elsinger, Helmut Stix, Martin Summer)," Working Papers 241, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
    8. Arto Kovanen, 2022. "Second Thoughts About Central Bank Digital Currencies," Applied Economics and Finance, Redfame publishing, vol. 9(1), pages 1-18, December.
    9. Elsayed, Ahmed H. & Nasir, Muhammad Ali, 2022. "Central bank digital currencies: An agenda for future research," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    10. Fabio Araujo, 2022. "Initial steps towards a central bank digital currency by the Central Bank of Brazil," BIS Papers chapters, in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), CBDCs in emerging market economies, volume 123, pages 31-37, Bank for International Settlements.
    11. Marcelo A. T. Aragão, 2021. "A Few Things You Wanted to Know about the Economics of CBDCs, but were Afraid to Model: a survey of what we can learn from who has done," Working Papers Series 554, Central Bank of Brazil, Research Department.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    central bank digital currency; CBDC; payments; cash; privacy; distributed systems;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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