The Reserve Bank of Australia said it was continuing to study the central bank’s digital currency less than a month after it said it was unnecessary.
The Reserve Bank of Australia also said it is considering issuing a more targeted “wholesale” central bank digital currency.
Tony Richards, Head of Payments Policy at the Reserve Bank of Australia, speaking at the University of Western Australia’s Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and Financial Technology Conference, said:
“We will continue to look at the state of central bank digital currencies, including how they are designed, the potential benefits and policy implications, and conditions under which a significant demand may arise for central bank digital currencies.”
Richards added that a public lawsuit to release public-purpose or retail digital commercial currencies in Australia is still pending. According to reports released in mid-September, the RBA was extremely skeptical and did not see the CBDC issuance as a major policy issue at the time.
Richards added that although bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies depend on public blockchains, this will not necessarily be the case in the case of central bank currencies, which can be developed using a licensed and centralized digital ledger.
RBA is also examining a number of factors that could help shape a potential CBDC, Richards continued, such as whether it would be account dependent or token dependent and whether it could be used offline.
Richards also said that in addition to the central bank’s efforts to monitor the retail banking activity of central bank digital currencies, it is studying the technological and policy implications of potential wholesale central bank digital currencies that will be available to a limited group of financial institutions.
Richards said the bank is ready to use CBDC and will continue to monitor developments in this area, adding:
“If some jurisdictions go to full implementation of central bank digital currencies, many central banks like us will watch closely.”
The comments come as China improves its digital currency / electronic payments test, distributing a total of 10 million digital yuan ($ 1.5 million) to Shenzhen residents.