South Africa Tops Africa and 7th Globally in Interbank CBDC Development, Latest 2021 PwC Global Annual Report Shows

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The latest PwC Global CBDC Index 2021 report is out and reveals developments in Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) globally.

Among the leading countries when it comes to CBDCs is South Africa, ranked top in Africa and 7th worldwide.

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SEE ALSOSouth African Financial Regulators Launch Project Khokha 2 to Issue, Clear, and Settle Tokenized Debentures

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The PwC Global CBDC Index is designed to measure a central bank’s level of maturity in deploying their own digital currency. It provides a synthetic index, capturing the central banks’ progress, stance on CBDC development, and public interest in two distinct use cases:

  • Retail CBDC which are held directly by citizens and corporates
  • Interbank, or Wholesale CBDC which are restricted to Financial Institutions, principally for interbank payments and financial settlement processes

Below is a breakdown of the top 10 countries based on CBDC development and project maturity.

Retail CBDC

  • Bahamas
  • Cambodia
  • Mainland China
  • Ukraine
  • Uruguay
  • Ecuador
  • Eastern Caribbean
  • Sweden
  • South Korea
  • Turkey

Interbank / Wholesale CBDC (wCBDC)

  • Thailand
  • Hong Kong SAR (Project Inthanon-LionRock)
  • Singapore (Project Ubin)
  • Canada (Project Jasper-Ubin)
  • United Kingdom (Project TBC)
  • France (Project CBDC Experiments)
  • South Africa (Project Khokha)
  • Europe (Project Stella)
  • United Arab Emirates (Project Aber)
  • Japan (Project Stella)

South Africa’s Project Khokha, which commenced in late 2017, with phase 2 commencing in 2021, looks to issue, clear and settle debentures on DLT using tokenized money built as a minimum viable product to fruther explore policy and regulatory considerations.

The project seeks to enable users purchase debentures with a wholesale Central Bank-issued digital currency (wCBDC) and a wholesale digital settlement token (wToken), a privately-issued stable coin used for interbank settlement.

According to the report, retail CBDC projects appear to be more advanced in emerging economies with financial inclusion stated as an expected outcome. Wholesale efforts are mostly conducted in more advanced economies with more developed interbank systems and capital markets.

Looking at the most advanced projects globally, retail efforts have already produced two live projects in the Bahamas and Cambodia.

No interbank / wholesale CBDC projects have reached this maturity level yet. However, nearly 70% of declared wholesale projects are already running pilots, while only 23% of retail projects reached this implementation stage.

More than 88% of CBDC projects, at pilot or production phase, use blockchain as the underlying technology.

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Read / Download report here

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RECOMMENDED READINGRipple and Bitcoin SV-based Startups Get Added onto the South African Regulatory Sandbox to Test Crypto Assets Regulation

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