New Central Bank Group to Discuss Digital Currency Benefits at April Meeting: Report

In mid-April, the chiefs of six central banks as well as the Bank for International Settlements (BiS) will hold a meeting in Washington to discuss the potential creation of their own digital currencies, according to a report from Nikkei.

The planned meeting would be the first by the group formed last month amid growing concerns among financial authorities about the rise of regulated digital fiat currencies, most notably Facebook’s Libra and China’s digital yuan.

In January, central banks from the U.K., Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, Japan and the EU formed the working group with BIS to further study the application and feasibility of central bank digital currencies (CBDC).

The central bankers plan to discuss how digital currencies could streamline international payments, and will also look at security measures that might be required, according to the report.

“It’s quite natural to consider how to make international transactions more convenient,” Masazumi Wakatabe, deputy governor of the Bank of Japan, told the publication Wednesday.

China is currently closest to launching a CBDC among the major nations, with the People’s Bank of China reportedly testing its digital yuan. That has prompted other central banks, including the U.S. Fed Reserve, to start looking more seriously at the possibility, in part to avoid falling behind China if it launches a globally used digital fiat that might rival the dollar’s international status.

Top officials of the six banks will prepare their findings on CBDCs before the leaders meet in April at the sidelines of an international conference in Washington, according to Nikkei.

The group aims to have an interim report ready for June and a final report in the autumn.

In late January, a Bank of Japan official said if advances in payments technology are quickly made, there may be more demand for a central bank digital currency. As such, it’s “very important” the bank should lay the groundwork of the technology and be “prepared to respond.”

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