Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) are a type of digital currency issued by a central bank, typically as a means of modernizing the country’s payment systems and increasing financial inclusion. Several countries are exploring the possibility of issuing CBDCs, but as of 2021, only a few have actually launched pilot programs or conducted small-scale trials. These include:
- China: The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has been testing a digital version of the Chinese yuan, known as the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP), since 2014. The DCEP is currently being tested in several cities across the country, including Shenzhen, Chengdu, and Suzhou.
- Sweden: The Riksbank, Sweden’s central bank, has been exploring the possibility of issuing a digital version of the Swedish krona since 2017. In 2020, the Riksbank launched a pilot program to test the technical feasibility and practical use of a CBDC in a small-scale, controlled environment.
- Bahamas: The Central Bank of the Bahamas launched a pilot program for a digital version of the Bahamian dollar, known as the Sand Dollar, in October 2020. The Sand Dollar is being used in a limited number of transactions in a few pilot locations on the island of Exuma.
- Cambodia: The National Bank of Cambodia has been working on a CBDC project since 2019, and in 2021 it launched a pilot program to test the use of a digital version of the Cambodian riel in a small number of transactions in Phnom Penh.
- Uruguay: The Central Bank of Uruguay has been exploring the possibility of issuing a CBDC since 2018, and in 2021 it launched a pilot program to test the use of a digital version of the Uruguayan peso in a small number of transactions in Montevideo.
There are also several other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, that are currently studying the potential benefits and risks of issuing CBDCs, but have not yet launched any pilot programs.