A digital dollar could streamline settlements to make financial markets more efficient, according to a report published Wednesday by the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp., the financial-infrastructure giant that has a hand in virtually every trade on the more than $40 trillion U.S. stock market.
DTCC said its report is the first-ever private-sector probe of what a central bank digital currency (CBDC) would mean for post-trade financial markets – the infrastructure that processes securities deals after a price has been agreed upon.
“This new initiative represents the essence of innovation … we should expect digital transformation to reshape markets and market structure in the coming years,” DTCC Managing Director Jennifer Peve said in a statement, referring to a program carried out with the nonprofit Digital Dollar Project and major banks such as Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC) and State Street (STT) to test the use of a digital dollar in financial markets.
“A U.S. CBDC should be carefully explored in consultation with key stakeholders across the public and private sectors," Peve said.
A CBDC could help speed up settlement, in part by automating reports the DTCC must send to the Federal Reserve, the DTCC said. It cited evidence that distributed-ledger technology could save billions of dollars per year by simplifying how trades are confirmed and reconciled.
In August, DTCC announced it was processing as many as 160,000 trades per day on a blockchain via Project Ion. The Bank for International Settlements has said as many as nine in 10 of the world’s central banks are looking at a CBDC, although Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has suggested he is in no rush to issue a digital dollar.
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