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Servers keep digital currency transactions flowing at light-speed in Ashburn, Va., outside Washington, where Visa has built one of the world's most advanced processing networks, Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010.

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Policy Brief

Central Bank Digital Currencies: Tools for an Inclusive Future?

| September 2020

In this brief, we outline the common motivations driving central bank work on CBDCs. We then explore CBDCs’ potential impacts on financial inclusion, a primary motivation in developing and emerging markets that has also gained significant traction in developed economies during the COVID-19 related global recession. We conclude that for CBDCs to achieve its financial inclusion goals, more technical advancement in offline adaptability and policy deliberations around issues of identity and traceability are needed. 
 

Central Bank Digital Currency Tracker

Atlantic Council and Belfer Center

Infographics & Charts

National Digital Currencies: The Future of Money?

| Updated September 2020

China piloted a national digital currency in April 2020. The European Central Bank has convened a working group of major economies to coordinate digital currency research and development. The U.S. Federal Reserve said it was in the early stages of researching the digital dollar. Spurred by the potential to modernize domestic payments systems, or take a leading role in updating the global payments infrastructure that supports cross-border trade and remittances, nations around the globe are exploring the merits and risks of issuing a digital currency. While many are in the early stages of research, central banks representing one-fifth of the world's population say they will issue a digital currency very soon.

The Belfer Center’s Economic Diplomacy Initiative, in collaboration with the Atlantic Council’s Global Business and Economics Program, is tracking the latest developments in central bank issued digital currencies.