Australia Planning CBDC Trial

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  • Australia is planning a CBDC trial involving a number of banks and payment providers
  • The Reserve Bank of Australia and the Digital Finance Cooperative Research Centre made the announcement yesterday
  • Australia wasn’t known to be so far ahead in its plans

A joint statement from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and the Digital Finance Cooperative Research Centre (DFCRC) has revealed that the RBA is planning to launch a live pilot of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in the near future. The RBA and DFCRC are collaborating on a research project to assess the potential use cases and economic benefits of a CBDC in Australia, and as part of the project’s initial stage a number of financial industry participants will be selected to demonstrate potential use cases of the CBDC. Australia wasn’t known to be this far down the road of a sovereign digital currency, but the announcement shows just how widespread the concept is.

Mastercard Involved in Aussie CBDC Rollout

The RBA pilot project is scheduled to begin on March 31 and end on May 31, with a final report on the findings, including an assessment of the various use cases developed, set to be published on June 30. The use cases being piloted include offline payments, tax automation, and a CBDC for “trusted Web3 commerce”, with participants in the trial including banks like the Commonwealth Bank and Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) bank, as well as payment providers like Mastercard.

Both Mastercard and Visa have publicly announced in recent years that they are baking CBDC integration into their payment systems, and this trial is evidence of this planning coming to fruition.

RBA Wants to Get a Feel of What a CBDC Can Do

According to Brad Jones, the Assistant Governor for Financial Systems at the RBA, the pilot and accompanying research study will serve two purposes – to not only contribute to the industry’s hands-on learning of the concept of a CBDC and the process, but to also enhance policymakers’ comprehension of how a CBDC could benefit Australia’s financial system and economy.

Australia is the latest in a growing list of nations pushing the green button on CBDCs, coming just weeks after the UK took its CBDC planning to the next level by advertising for two individuals to head up the two teams within the government and the Bank of England that are working on it.