The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has outlined potential use cases and providers for a central bank digital currency (CBDC), with a pilot program to be launched in the coming months, according to a whitepaper published by the regulator on Thursday. 

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Fast facts

  • This report is a follow-up to a collaborative research project with the Digital Finance Cooperative Research Centre, exploring the possible use cases of a CBDC and its benefits to the Australian economy. 
  • Launched in September 2022, the CBDC research project involved the submission of potential CBDC use cases by a range of participants from various industries, of which only a few were chosen to participate in the CBDC live pilot.
  • Fourteen CBDC use cases were selected in the report, including offline payments, nature-based asset trading, corporate bond settlement, construction payments, and livestock auctioning. 
  • Another 14 CBDC providers, consisting of small fintech firms to large financial institutions, were identified, such as payment giant Mastercard, the Australian Bond Exchange, and Australia-based banking and financial services company ANZ. 
  • RBA also announced that Australia intends to launch its CBDC “live pilot” in the coming months, though no precise start date was given. 
  • About the CBDC pilot, RBA Assistant Governor Brad Jones said it “will contribute to hands-on learning by industry, and it will add to policymakers’ understanding of how a CBDC could potentially benefit the Australian financial system and economy.”
  • More than half of the world’s central banks were developing or testing digital currencies, as of 2021, according to a May 2022 report from the Bank for International Settlements. Attention on CBDCs has continued into 2023, with the U.K. announcing a CBDC roadmap and Russia announcing a CBDC pilot program in February, according to local news reports.

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