The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is mulling issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The authority unveiled this news through a press release on July 7, saying that it will be carrying out extensive consultations with the public over the remainder of the year, regarding this matter. Reportedly, this move is part of the central bank’s goal to shape the future of how New Zealanders will pay and save.
According to the news release, the central bank intends to release a series of papers related to money and cash issues from August to November. Through these papers, the authority aims to get feedback on money-related topics from the country’s citizens. Per the Assistant Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Christian Hawkesby, the first paper will focus on the broad concepts of money and cash stewardship and briefly outline the topics in the subsequent publications.
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After the first publication, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand will seek feedback on the potential for a CBDC to work alongside cash as government-backed money. The authority will also look to get information on issues that emanate from electronic money forms, including crypto assets and stablecoins. Additionally, the central bank will publish a paper requesting suggestions on how the cash system needs to change to meet the needs of New Zealanders.
A move to boost financial inclusivity
Explaining the interest in improving the country’s financial system, Hawkesby said the Reserve Bank of New Zealand is looking to fine-tune its responsibilities as a steward. He added that the bank is trying to figure out how a resilient and stable cash currency system would look like. On top of this, Hawkesby said the entity aims to identify the best approach to address digital innovations in money and payments.
Hawkesby pointed out that in as much as the number of citizens using cash has plunged, the ability to use fiat currencies remains valuable, seeing as they enable financial inclusion and offer autonomy. Nonetheless, he believes that banking on the use of cash will put the central bank at a disadvantage because a future in which payments are not cash-based is inevitable. To this end, the authority seeks to ensure that the transition from cash to digital forms of payment is seamless.
Per Hawkesby, a CBDC has the potential to address some of the downsides of decreasing physical cash use. However, he believes in taking a cautious approach, in which the central bank evaluates the issues at hand and proposed solutions before creating the CBDC.
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