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Central bank digital currency could substantially impact traditional concept of banknotes, says BoJ Deputy Governor

Central bank digital currency (CBDC) could have a substantial impact on the traditional concept of banknotes, Hiroshi Nakaso, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Japan, said recently.

Speaking at the Forum Towards Making Effective Use of the BOJ-NET, Nakaso reflected on a number of areas including CBDCs, blockchain technology, and FinTech, among others. He noted that various central banks have started conducting research and analyses of CBDC, adding:

“If CBDC is directly issued to the general public, it would allow wider access to central bank payment and settlement systems both in time and space. In an extreme case in which CBDC provides the same functionality as banknotes as an alternate measure, it could enable everyone to access central bank accounts 24/7, year-round”.

Nakaso further pointed out that there is an influx of fintech players, who are increasing their presence in payments and settlements. With this big-data attached to payment and settlement transactions is becoming more important as a source of added-value in various businesses, he said.

“We will need to focus not only on the classical issue of "desirable sharing between central bank money and commercial bank money," but also on new payment instruments carrying additional information provided by new players such as "non-bank FinTech firms." The emergence of these new payment instruments will make things far more complicated”, he added.

Furthermore, Nakaso highlighted the need for central banks to ensure the security of central bank payment and settlement systems. To that end, he added:

“We may also need to consider how to manage the information attached to payment and settlement activities, especially if such information is concentrated to central banks. Moreover, we should try to grasp the possible impacts of new technologies, such as blockchain and distributed ledger technology, on payment and settlement infrastructures including central bank payment and settlement systems”.

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