In response to the growing global interest in Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced plans to publish a comprehensive handbook. The guide is aimed at assisting nations considering the creation and implementation of their own digital currencies.
IMF Deputy Managing Director Bo Li unveiled the news during a discussion panel on CBDCs, noting that the organization has received inquiries from over 40 countries seeking technical assistance on CBDC design and objectives. With this surge in interest, the IMF sees its role as essential in supporting central banks navigate this evolving digital landscape.
Li elaborated that the forthcoming handbook would serve as a treasure trove of knowledge and experience on CBDCs, providing the necessary foundation for informed decision-making when launching their own digital currencies.
Since 2020, the IMF has diligently kept pace with the evolving landscape of digital currencies. The organization recently unveiled a policy paper outlining a multi-year strategy for central banks. Many consider this paper as the precursor to the CBDC handbook, as it advocates for central banks to prioritize CBDC pilots while adopting a cautious, measured approach.
As part of its Digital Money Strategy released in 2021, the IMF positioned itself as the organization to "monitor" and "advise" its member countries on the macroeconomic implications of CBDCs and other fintech innovations.
A recent study by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) highlights the growing global interest in CBDCs. Nine out of 10 central banks surveyed, representing 94% of the world's economy, are reportedly exploring CBDCs, with over two-thirds announcing plans to launch retail CBDCs within a six-year period.
Acknowledging the swift rise of CBDCs, the G7 countries are working towards issuing guidelines for developing nations on CBDCs before the year ends.
Li underscored in his speech the potential implications of CBDCs on monetary policy and financial stability. He warned that ill-designed CBDCs could lead to privacy violations and spiral into legal and operational challenges. However, he also emphasized that a well-structured CBDC could strengthen the payment system's resilience and efficiency. Moreover, CBDCs have the potential to revolutionize cross-border payments by eliminating intermediaries and stimulating healthy competition.