Six Major Central Banks to Hold Digital Currency Meeting in April

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As reported by Thursday edition of the Nikkei newspaper, leaders of six major central banks undertaking joint research on digital currencies are considering holding their first meeting in mid-April in Washington.

A Bank of Japan executive said no timetable has been fixed for any meeting of the group, but said central banks must respond flexibly to rapid digitalisation to stay relevant as issuers of money.

A BoJ board member, Takako Masai reacted to forthcoming meeting,

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“In Japan, we don’t have any plans now to issue central bank digital currencies (CBDC).

“But we need to make an effort so we’re ready to respond, in case public demand for central bank digital currencies rises dramatically.

The central banks of Britain, the euro zone, Japan, Canada, Sweden and Switzerland announced a plan in January to share their findings to look at the case for issuing digital currencies amid growing debate over the future of money.

The leaders of the six central banks and the Bank of International Settlements intend to meet in April to discuss ways to streamline cross-border settlement and security issues that need to be addressed if central banks issue digital currencies in the future.

The six central banks plan to release an interim report in June and a final report around autumn, the Nikkei said without citing sources.

Central banks across the world have quickened the pace at which they are looking at issuing their own digital currencies, also known as Central Banks’ Digital Currencies (CBDCs).

Facebook’s push to launch its Libra cryptocurrency has raised questions over whether nation-states will continue to control money in the decades ahead.

Of the major central banks, China’s has emerged as the frontrunner in the drive to create its own digitised money though details of its project are still scarce.

The BOJ has undertaken a joint research project with the European Central Bank, but has said it has no plans to issue CBDCs in the near term.

Juliet Ekwebelam

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