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Study: U.S. Far Behind Other Nations in Digital Currency Adoption

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Mar 14, 2024


A total of 134 countries representing 98 percent of the global economy are now exploring digital versions of their currencies, Reuters reported.  Currently, 68 countries are in the advanced phase of exploration—development, pilot or launch—according to a study by the Washington-based Atlantic Council think tank. The United States is among them, but it is far behind many of them.

Nineteen of the Group of 20 (G20) countries are now in the advanced stages of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) development, according to the study. Of those, 11 countries are already in the pilot stage. They includes Brazil, Japan, India, Australia, South Korea, South Africa, Russia, and Turkey.

The United States is only in the development stage, as are Canada, Mexico, and 27 others

Currently, 36 pilot projects are under way, the study reported. The largest CBDC pilot in the world is China’s digital yuan (e-CNY), which reaches 260 million wallets across 25 cities. The European Central Bank (ECB) is now in a two-year preparation phase, ending in 2025. It is conducting practical tests with some transactions being settled in a controlled environment.  

Three countries—the Bahamas, Jamaica and Nigeria—have fully launched a CBDC.

"The biggest headline here is that the divergence between the world's largest central banks over CBDCs is growing," said the Atlantic Council's Josh Lipsky, pointing to how much further ahead China, Europe and Japan were, Reuters reported.

A digital dollar for the wider U.S. population looks "stalled," the report said. “People don’t need to worry about a central bank digital currenc; nothing like that is remotely close to happening anytime soon," Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell said in testimony before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee last week, Reuters reported at the time.

The risk of United States lagging behind was "a more fractured international payments system," Lipsky added, saying that  the country could also lose some of its global finance clout if other countries press on and set the new standards around CBDCs.

The concept has become a political issue in this election year, Reuters reported. President Joe Biden ordered officials to look into a digital dollar in 2022, but the Republican nominee, former President Donald Trump, has vowed not to allow it.

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