Three Central Banks Explore Advantages Of Wholesale Central Bank Digital Currencies
11/27/2018On November 15, 2018, the Bank of England, the Bank of Canada and the Monetary Authority of Singapore published a joint report entitled, "Cross-Border Interbank Payments and Settlements." Referring to current industry projects to address existing problems in cross-border payments affecting end-users, commercial banks and central banks, the report analyzes these issues and discusses proposed new models for processing cross-border transactions. The report sets out three models for cross-border payments and settlements and discusses the key considerations and dependencies of each model. Each model is then assessed against the existing identified challenges in cross-border payments.
Model 1 is based on existing plans to enhance the current systems within and across jurisdictions, which is considered to be the baseline for discussions. Model 2 is based on an expanded role for domestic real-time gross settlement infrastructure, which would be "super-correspondents" in settling cross-border payments and would replace existing correspondent banks. Model 3 has three variations, all of which are based on cross-border payments between banks being settled with wholesale central bank digital currencies (W-CBDCs). The three variations are: (i) W-CBDCs that can be held and exchanged only in their home jurisdiction; (ii) W-CBDCs held and exchanged within and beyond their home jurisdictions; and (iii) a single universal W-CBDC backed by a basket of currencies issued by participating central banks.
The report concludes that further analysis of the proposed models is needed and that studies are needed on various topics, including the legal and regulatory requirements and risks involved in each model, the cross-jurisdictional governance framework needed to ensure harmonized standards and implementation, the impact on monetary policy, changes to legislation to establish the recognition of W-CBDCs as legal tender for interbank payments and settlement and eligibility criteria for participants in each of the models.