New Zealand to explore central bank digital currency as part of public consultations

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New Zealand's central bank is set to spend the coming months in public consultation on issues ranging from stablecoins to central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

The roadmap was detailed in a Wednesday statement and builds on previous work done in the area of future approaches to payments in New Zealand.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand's Assistant Governor Christian Hawkesby said in a statement:

"We’ll be considering not only what we should be doing as steward, but what a resilient and stable cash and currency system in New Zealand might look like, and how we might best respond to digital innovations in money and payments."

"The first consultation will introduce and seek feedback on the broad concepts of money and cash stewardship, and outline specific topics to be covered in the rest of the series," he went on to say. "Subsequent papers will look at the potential for a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) to work alongside cash as government-backed money, issues arising from new electronic money forms including crypto assets (such as BitCoin) and stable coins (such as proposed by a Facebook-led consortium), and how the cash system might need to change to continue to meet the needs of users."

A CBDC, according to Hawkesby, "is something we want to explore for New Zealand."

That New Zealand is conducting research in this area is perhaps unsurprising, given the growing number of CBDC trials among the world's central banks and financial institutions. 

Late last month, the Bank of International Settlements moved to encourage CBDC testing, emphasizing in a report that national digital currencies can exist alongside cash and private monies like stablecoins. 

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