The Bank for International Settlements published results of a survey Thursday that found that 80 percent of the world’s central banks are working on launching their own digital currency. What’s more, 10 percent of central banks have developed pilot projects, and banks that collectively represent 20 percent of the world's population said they’re likely to issue them in the next few years.

The annual report, titled “Impending arrival – a sequel to the survey on central bank digital currency,” surveyed 66 central banks, including those from Australia, Brazil, China, France, the UK, and the US about their outlook on CBDCs—central bank digital currencies. The banks that took part in the survey represent 90% of the global economy.


The results show that engagement in CBDCs is on the up; in a 2018 survey, 70% of central banks were working on digital currencies, 10% fewer than this year.

The proof is in the headlines: South Korea’s researching it, the European Central Bank is researching it, and China’s about to release one. Countries like Venezuela and Senegal already have them. 

But don’t expect a digital dollar, euro, or pound just yet. The report found that central banks in emerging markets, not developed markets, were most likely to consider issuing digital substitutes for cash. In fact, 90% of those likely to issue CBDCs in the medium term were in emerging markets; the top motivations were to increase financial inclusion, payments safety and robustness, and efficiency in domestic payments. 

And make no mistake: your bank’s not going to turn to Bitcoin anytime soon. According to the report, no central bank said that cryptocurrencies were significant for domestic or cross-border payments; and crypto usage is either considered “trivial/no use,” or relegated to obscurity. 

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