Bahamas ranked first in retail CBDC development

A report published by PwC, places Bahamas at the top of the list of countries which are developing central bank digital currency (CBDC) in terms of retail applications, offering an important glimpse in the race to issue cryptocurrencies backed by the government.

Bahamas ranked first in retail CBDC development

According to the "CBDC global index," PwC surveyed, the level of central-bank maturity in developing cryptocurrencies on the basis of two factors: 1) retail applications which refers to CBDCs that can be held and transacted directly by individuals and organizations in the form of digital cash; 2) Interbank applications meanwhile, are CBDCs, restricted to major financial institutions for the settlement. 

The retail CBDC ranking gave the score of 92 out of 100 to Bahamas, leading among all other countries. Cambodia placed second at 83, followed by Mainland China (75) at 3rd and Ukraine (71) at 4th position.

The Bahamas made it to the top due to the successful implementation of its so-called Sand Dollar, backed by the Central Bank of The Bahamas, which is a digital version of the national currency issued through authorized financial institutions. As PwC notes:

“All residents can access the digital wallet through the mobile application or a physical payment card. The records collected during daily operations, such as income and spending information, can support applications for micro-loans.”

Mainland China started the development of its retail CBDC in 2014. However, the country failed to make it to the top 10.

On the other hand, Thailand and Hong Kong both are leading the list of Project maturity for interbank CBDCs, both of which achieved a score of 80 out of 100. Singapore is at 3rd place with a score of 75, followed by Canada (69), the U.K. (68) and France (64).

Thailand has been working on the development of the CBDC since 2018, achieving a successful prototype the following year.

“More than 60 central banks have already entered the central bank digital currency race," said Benoit Sureau, a PwC partner for the France and Maghreb region. He recognized CBDCs as a “game-changer” that will offer “access to alternative payment solutions for citizens and corporates.”

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