Delegates discussing central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) at Sibos 2020 agree that there is a long road ahead for global mass adoption to facilitate cross-border payments.
When asked what proportion of cross-border payments would be conducted using CBDCs in five years’ time, the majority said less than 5%.
Attendees to the session were however fairly bullish about the future for CBDCs, with 43% stating that they will see widespread adoption in the next five years. Another 43% said they would take off within ten years, while an extremely opttimistic 14% said they would do so within the next year.
Asked about the relevance of CBDCs to their market, 57% of the attendees said they are absolutely relevant and 43% said they may be so.
While CBDCs can certainly help to make international payments faster and cheaper, they cannot be seen as a „universal cure” to cross-border frictions, according to Frantz Teissèdre, head of interbank relations at Société Générale.
David Birch, author and financial services consultant, compares Swift to CB radio or Charlie’s Angels, as an „affectionate tribute to the 1970s”.
The director of Consult Hyperion was asked if he could envisage anything meaningfully different in the way money will operate in 20 years’ time.
„In a world of CBDCs, I am not sure what Swift would do,” Birch says. „It involves an awful lot of messing around to do with settlement, reconciliation, clearing and so on.”
He imagines a world in which an African farmer buys fertiliser from China and receives payment for the soya beans he grows all in CBDC.
„There may not even be banks involved in that transaction, let alone Swift,” he claims.
In this world, money would become more of an interpersonal, unmediated entity.
Birch believes that CBDCS are much more of a revolution in the way money will operate than they are presently given credit for, largely because much of the conversation is being conducted by conservative people who assume there will always be some semblance of the old way of doing things.
„Tendinţele pe care le-am remarcat înainte de începerea pandemiei s-au accelerat pe perioada stării de urgenţă. Am văzut acest lucru ca o oportunitate, un tipping point pentru bancă. Post-pandemie nu avem cum sa ne întoarcem la comportamentul financiar pe care îl aveam până în februarie a.c. Relaţia românilor cu online-ul s-a schimbat. In plus, cardul fizic se va dematerializa. Vom asista la o scădere a cererii pentru cardurile fizice, respectiv la o creştere a preferinţei pentru componenta digitală a acestora.”