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Preconditions for a general-purpose central bank digital currency

Updated: Dec 1, 2021

Introduction


Money is a social and legal construct underpinned by trust. Conceptions of money have evolved and money has taken many forms over the years. In North America, pre-colonial trade was often conducted in wampum, corn, and fur pelts. In fact, wampum, which are decorative beads made from shells, were recognized as official currency by the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1650.2 The Federal Reserve note, which was first issued in 1914, is a relatively recent development by historical standards. Today, there are ongoing discussions on a new form of central bank money distinct from physical cash and limited-access central bank deposits. This report focuses on the potential for a general-purpose CBDC that can be used by the public for day-to-day payments.


Crucial to whether "money" is successful is whether it is seen as a safe, stable and reliable instrument. Cash, central bank deposits, and a