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How central banks can use blockchain responsibly

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Central banks around the world are exploring blockchain opportunities

Central banks around the world are exploring blockchain opportunities

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The impact.

The World Economic Forum’s Centre for Financial and Monetary Systems has built a global community of central banks, international organizations and leading blockchain experts to identify and leverage innovations that could help usher in a new age for the global banking system.

By bringing these stakeholders together through a common initiative, we have enabled them to share their latest research and insights quickly, promoting transparency, trust and collaboration in a space that has traditionally lacked all three.

We are now helping central banks build, pilot and scale innovative policy frameworks for guiding the implementation of the blockchain, with a focus on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). Blockchain has widespread implications for the financial and monetary systems of tomorrow, but decisions about its use require input from multiple sectors in order to realize the technology’s full potential.

What's the challenge?

Blockchain can potentially transform banking by improving efficiency, security and financial inclusion. Central banks around the world have been exploring blockchain opportunities, but often independently, which in some cases has led to the duplication of efforts and uneven progress. Like many other organizations, central banks have also found it challenging to stay ahead of the latest developments in the rapidly evolving field of blockchain, digital and crypto currencies. Meanwhile unilateral efforts to implement blockchain by the private sector have largely neglected opportunities to make better use of it in the public sector.

Tackling these challenges can be difficult in an industry where the key players are cautious about sharing information, and where a single decision could have far-reaching consequences for financial markets and entire economies. The independence and neutrality of the Forum offers a unique atmosphere of trust, where these central banks can come together to collaborate.

Our approach.

The Central Banks in the Age of Blockchain initiative has created the world’s first community for central banks to share experiences, ideas and best practices related to blockchain and digital currencies, and to learn from reliable experts. Our global community consists of 45 central banks, four major international organizations and some of the world’s top blockchain experts.

To keep our community members up-to-date on the latest developments in blockchain, digital and crypto currencies, we publish white papers and insight reports, including Central Banks and Distributed Ledger Technology: How are Central Banks Exploring Blockchain Today?, which publicly shares insights from dozens of blockchain experiments by central banks for the first time.

We’re also connecting our community of central banks with leading creators of new cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based digital currencies so they can work together to address legal and regulatory challenges arising from these financial innovations and help ensure the benefits extend to all parts of society.

Over the next four years, we should expect to see many central banks decide whether they will use blockchain and distributed ledger technologies to improve their processes and economic welfare. Given the systemic importance of central bank processes, and the relative freshness of blockchain technology, banks must carefully consider all known and unknown risks to implementation.

Ashley Lannquist, Project Lead, Blockchain and Digital Assets, World Economic Forum

How can you get involved?

Our Central Banks in the Age of Blockchain community is an initiative of the Centre for Financial and Monetary Systems.

By partnering with us, your company will have the opportunity to shape the future of our global financial and monetary systems by working with the very organizations that govern them.

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September 17, 2021

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