How COVID-19 is accelerating central bank digital currency projects

Concerns around physical cash as a potential transmitter of the COVID-19 virus has seen retail outlets prefer customers to use cashless payment options. Combined with the increase in online shopping in the current environment, momentum towards a cashless economy has picked up pace.

In this podcast episode, Schmitz and Pirovich examine the proposal for central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and the current level of interest among central banks in issuing them.

They discuss the nature and functions of CBDCs, the technical design options, and the role of the Reserve Bank of Australia in developing and establishing the e-AUD. They also discuss any concerns in the design of CBDCs, what role private sector projects such as Libra play, and how COVID-19 is accelerating research projects development and implementation.

Guest: Joni Pirovich, Special Counsel, Mills Oakley
Host: Dr. Jana Schmitz, Policy and Research Analyst, CPA Australia.

Podcast Chapters:

0 – 1:22 Introduction
1:23 – 3:24 News Update: Latest developments in Central Banks’ Digital Currencies Projects
3:25 – 7:09 What are CBDCs?
7:10 – 7:52 What could an Australian CBDC look like?
7:53 – 17:32 What is the difference between wholesale and retail CBDCs?
17:33 – 20:05 Technological design options for CBDCs: Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology 
20:06 – 24:07 Do CBDCs require or rely on Blockchain or Distributed Ledger Technology?
24:08 – 28:20 Cross-border transactions and CBDCs: Blockchain interoperability, Anti-Money Laundering (AML), terrorism financing and the responsibility of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA)
28:21 – 36:27 Libra and CBDCs: are CBDCs the Central Banks’ answer or reaction to Libra

Further Resources:

Mills Oakley Submission to the Reserve Bank of Australia Review of Retail Payments Regulation February 2020
Covid-19, cash, and the future of payments Bank for International Settlements, BIS Bulletin, 3 April 2020
The technology of retail central bank digital currency Bank for International Settlements, BIS Quarterly Review, 1 March 2020
Libra Whitepaper 2.0
CPA Australia COVID-19 resources hub
Transcript (PDF)



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