The health crisis prompted 30% of central banks to accelerate their digital currency projects, according to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). Six central banks, including China, plan to launch their digital currency for the general public within the next three years.

Nearly 9 in 10 central banks are thinking about the pros and cons of issuing their digital currency, according to the Bank for International Settlements survey of 65 countries in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The Covid-19 crisis prompted 30% of central banks to accelerate their digital currency projects, according to the third survey conducted by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) of 65 countries in the fourth quarter of 2020. The health crisis has deepened the advantage of having a 100% electronic currency which meets the requirements of physical distancing and responds to fears of contamination in the event of recourse to banknotes and coins. A central bank digital currency would also facilitate and accelerate the payment of aid during periods of economic crisis. The individual’s account would be credited directly by the central bank. More broadly, this movement is part of a context of decline in cash as a means of payment, but not as easily available precautionary savings. And 60% of countries believe that the health crisis has not changed the pace of their work on the subject.

Almost nine out of ten central banks reflect on the pros and cons of issuing their digital currency, whether it is intended only for financial institutions or for citizens and businesses. But they are still far from being ready to take the plunge. Only 14% are at the pilot and testing stage. Emerging countries are more motivated than developed countries to launch an electronic version of their currency.