The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is open to using a central bank digital currency (CBDC) as the future of money, where state-issued digital money would represent a tokenized form of central bank reserves.
In a speech titled “A Tokenised Future for the Australian Financial System,” Brad Jones, assistant governor (financial system) of the RBA, talked about the opportunities and challenges arising from the tokenization of assets and money in the digital age while shedding light on the proposed plan to use CBDCs as a form of money.
Jones started his speech by outlining the use of different forms of money throughout history and how financial instruments have evolved over time. While talking about tokenization and tokenized forms of money in the modern era, Jones mentioned stablecoins and CBDCs.
He stated that stablecoins issued by “well-regulated financial institutions and that are backed by high-quality assets (i.e., government securities and central bank reserves) could be widely used to settle tokenized transactions;“ however, due to lack of regulatory guidelines, stablecoins issued by private parties often come with increased risk. On the other hand, CBDCs in the form of tokenized bank deposits could become a good form of transaction settlement, according to Jones.
The assistant governor added that introducing tokenized bank deposits would represent a minor change to current practice given that deposits issued by various banks are already widely exchanged and settled (at par) across the central bank balance sheet. A payment between two parties using tokenized deposits would still be settled via a transfer of exchange settled (or wholesale CBDC) balances between the payer and payee bank.
Jones also shared some of the findings from the central bank’s pilot CBDC program findings, including a range of areas where CBDC could add value in wholesale payments, such as facilitating atomic settlement in tokenized asset markets. The pilot project also highlighted opportunities for a wholesale CBDC to complement new forms of privately issued digital money, namely tokenized bank deposits and asset-backed stablecoins.