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How to issue a central bank digital currency


  • David Chaum
  • Christian Grothoff
  • Thomas Moser


With the emergence of Bitcoin and recently proposed stablecoins from BigTechs, such as Diem (formerly Libra), central banks face growing competition from private actors offering their own digital alternative to physical cash. We do not address the normative question whether a central bank should issue a central bank digital currency (CBDC) or not. Instead, we contribute to the current research debate by showing how a central bank could do so, if desired. We propose a token-based system without distributed ledger technology and show how earlier-deployed, software-only electronic cash can be improved upon to preserve transaction privacy, meet regulatory requirements in a compelling way, and offer a level of quantum-resistant protection against systemic privacy risk. Neither monetary policy nor financial stability would be materially affected because a CBDC with this design would replicate physical cash rather than bank deposits.

Suggested Citation

  • David Chaum & Christian Grothoff & Thomas Moser, 2021. "How to issue a central bank digital currency," Working Papers 2021-03, Swiss National Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:snb:snbwpa:2021-03

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Raphael Auer & Rainer Boehme, 2021. "Central bank digital currency: the quest for minimally invasive technology," BIS Working Papers 948, Bank for International Settlements.
    2. Geoffrey Goodell & Hazem Danny Al-Nakib & Paolo Tasca, 2021. "A Digital Currency Architecture for Privacy and Owner-Custodianship," Future Internet, MDPI, vol. 13(5), pages 1-28, May.
    3. Noll, Franklin & Lipkin, Andrei, 2021. "Smart Banknotes and Cryptobanknotes: Hybrid Banknotes for Central Bank Digital Currencies and Cryptocurrency Payments," MPRA Paper 110887, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Emanuele Urbinati & Alessia Belsito & Daniele Cani & Angela Caporrini & Marco Capotosto & Simone Folino & Giuseppe Galano & Giancarlo Goretti & Gabriele Marcelli & Pietro Tiberi & Alessia Vita, 2021. "A digital euro: a contribution to the discussion on technical design choices," Mercati, infrastrutture, sistemi di pagamento (Markets, Infrastructures, Payment Systems) 10, Bank of Italy, Directorate General for Markets and Payment System.
    5. Ozili, Peterson K, 2023. "Central bank digital currency in India: the case for a digital rupee," MPRA Paper 118801, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Hull, Isaiah & Sattath, Or, 2021. "Revisiting the Properties of Money," Working Paper Series 406, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
    7. Koziuk Viktor & Ivashuk Yurii, 2022. "Does it Matter for CBDC Design? Privacy-Anonymity Preferences from the Side of Hierarchies and Egalitarian Cultural Patterns," Economics, Sciendo, vol. 10(1), pages 35-53, June.
    8. Smirna Tudor Gherasim & Ifrim Mihaela & Topan Mihai Vladimir & Stamate-Ștefan Andreas, 2023. "Central Bank Digital Currencies Analyzed in a Banking School versus Currency School Framework," Proceedings of the International Conference on Business Excellence, Sciendo, vol. 17(1), pages 638-648, July.

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    More about this item


    Digital currencies; central bank; CBDC; blind signatures; stablecoins;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E51 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services

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