The Nigeria Central Bank Digital Currency, eNaira led the retail project indexes of central banks globally in the 2022 PricewaterhouseCoopers’s (PwC) Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Global Index.
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Titled ‘The race to digital money is on,’ the PwC index analyses and ranks the leading retail and wholesale CBDC projects. The Index also evaluates the current stage of CBDC project development by taking into account central bank opinion and public interest.
PwC in its latest index report said that over 80 per cent of Central Banks are considering launching a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) or might have done so already.
“Retail projects in the Index are led by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) eNaira, the first CBDC in Africa, and the Sand Dollar, issued by the Central Bank of the Bahamas as legal tender in October 2020, making the Bahamas the first country to launch a CBDC,” the report published Tuesday said.
Overall, the report stated that retail CBDC projects (digital currencies designed for public use) have reached greater maturity levels than wholesale projects (digital currencies used by financial institutions that have accounts with central banks), and that the past year has seen progress on several prosperous wholesale pilots.
Haydn Jones, PwC’s UK Blockchain and Crypto Specialist said: “This year’s Index shows that central banks are ramping up activity in the digital currency space. Countries are at differing levels of maturity with CBDCs and each country has different motivating factors.”
He said the increasing financial inclusion, facilitating cross border payments and controlling financial crime are all factors that come into play.
“We expect CBDC research, testing and implementation will intensify in 2022,” Mr Jones added.
He said the success of Nigeria’s eNaira is likely to spur CBDC development in countries where financial inclusion is one of the key desired outcomes.