Reserve Bank hints at its own digital currency

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on March 15, 2021
Reserve Bank hints at its own digital currency

In a conference speech today, Reserve Bank Governor Dr Philip Lowe said the central bank is considering its own digital currency.

In his remarks to the Melbourne Business Analytics Conference, Dr Lowe was more open than in the past about the potential for a central bank digital currency.

"The RBA is conducting research on the technologies and policy implications of a potential wholesale central bank digital currency," he said.

"This could use distributed ledger technology to support the settlement of transactions in the interbank payment system.

"Some of this work is taking place in the RBA's in-house Innovation Lab, where we are collaborating with external parties on a proof-of-concept."

This is in contrast to an RBA  December 2019 submission to a Senate Select Committee in which it said, "The Bank is not currently considering a CBDC [central bank digital currency] for retail use, but notes the availability of a wholesale settlement token based on distributed ledger technology could allow payment and settlement processes to become more integrated with other business processes".

This morning, Dr Lowe was also supportive of the consumer data right and open banking, despite slow uptake due to significant administration costs and red tape.

"In many ways data is the new oil of the 21st century. Investing in data and our digital capability are critical to our future prosperity," he said.

"This access has started with open banking, which will make it easier for Australians to switch between financial institutions and access financial products that better suit their needs."

Richard Atkinson, a general manager at credit reporting agency illion, said in late January there had been "no consumer benefit" in open banking so far. 

"In illion’s experience, the current model imposes a significant cost on an organisation to achieve accreditation," he said.

"What kind of organisations could create innovative solutions for consumers? Financial planners, accountants, brokers - none of these are able to currently do it in a cost-effective manner."

As of late January there had been just six data recipients granted accreditation - Ezidox, Frollo, Intuit, Regional Australia Bank, and two illion brands.

Photo by 'Newtown Grafitti' on Flickr

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Harrison is's Assistant Editor. Prior to joining Savings in January 2020, he worked for some of Australia's largest comparison sites and media organisations. With a keen interest in the economy, housing policy, and personal finance, Harrison strives to deliver and edit news and guides that are engaging, thought-provoking, and simple to read.

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