Bank of America Says US CBDC Would Preserve Dollar’s Status as World’s Reserve Currency

CBDC’s are an inevitable evolution of today’s electronic currencies, the bank’s analysts said.

Jan 24, 2022 at 4:20 p.m. UTC
Updated Jan 24, 2022 at 4:32 p.m. UTC

Will Canny is CoinDesk's finance reporter.

A U.S. central bank digital currency (CBDC) would differ from the digital money currently available to the public because it would be a liability of the U.S. Federal Reserve, not a commercial bank, and so would have no credit or liquidity risk, Bank of America said in a report.

Preserving the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency, improving cross-border payments and increasing financial inclusion are all seen as benefits of a U.S. digital currency, analysts led by Alkesh Shah, wrote in the note Monday. The Fed published a discussion paper last week on the benefits and risks of a U.S. CBDC.

Potential risks – which could be diminished by CBDC design choices – include “changing the financial sector’s market structure by shifting deposits, increasing the liquidity risk of the financial system if deposits at commercial banks were converted to a CBDC and decreasing the efficacy of monetary policy implementation,” the note said.

Bank of America said key considerations before issuing a CBDC are the need for it to be privacy-protected, intermediated, transferable and identity-verified.

Stablecoins are likely to see an increase in usage in the absence of CBDCs, the bank noted, adding that the two largest by market value, tether and USD coin, had a combined market value of around $121 billion as of Jan. 21. Their use as a means of payment is increasing, particularly for cross-border remittances, the report said, as they are faster and cheaper than using fiat currency.

In a report published earlier in the month, Bank of America challenged the Bank of England’s assertion that a U.K. CBDC would act just as a form of digital cash. It said CBDCs are likely to replace checking accounts as the way in which consumers hold the majority of their funds.


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