Central bank leaders from six countries and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) have planned an April meeting to discuss digital currencies and the parameters involved for launching their own, the Nikkei Asian Review reported on Thursday (Feb. 6).
In January, the central banks of the U.K., Switzerland, Sweden, Canada and Japan, as well as the European Central Bank (ECB), partnered with the BIS to collaborate on the development of central bank digital currencies (CBDC).
The group is striving to develop security measures and guidelines that will oversee how digital money can be used for international bank-to-bank payments.
Masazumi Wakatabe, deputy governor of the Bank of Japan (BOJ), said that as it researches digital money, “it's quite natural to consider how to make international transactions more convenient.” Bank-to-bank international transfers are known for having extremely high fees.
The BOJ said central banks must act in order to stay relevant as issuers of money.
“In Japan, we don’t have any plans now to issue central bank digital currencies,” BOJ board member Takako Masai told a news conference in Nara on Thursday. “But we need to make an effort so we’re ready to respond, in case public demand for central bank digital currencies rises dramatically.”
Aside from Facebook’s Libra, the People's Bank of China has started planning its own digital yuan. China is leading the pack on researching the ins and outs of launching a central bank currency.
Following April’s meeting, the group anticipates issuing an interim report in June, with the final report in the fall.
Senior bank officials are finalizing data for the central bank leaders ahead of the meeting, which coincides with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) conference in Washington, D.C.
The global mobile payment market is currently estimated at $816.50 billion and is projected to reach over $5.5 trillion by 2025.
Last month, the World Economic Forum created a consortium dedicated to designing a framework for digital currency governance.
The U.S. Federal Reserve is examining the possibilities and issues surrounding cryptocurrencies and digital payments, which include whether there would be a benefit to the agency issuing a digital currency.