Bahamas ranked first for retail CBDC development, according to PwC

A brand new rating of world central financial institution digital currencies, or CBDCs, locations the Bahamas on the prime of the leaderboard by way of retail functions — providing an necessary glimpse within the race to concern government-backed cryptocurrencies.

In its 2021 “CBDC global index,” consulting agency PwC surveyed the extent of central-bank maturity in deploying cryptocurrencies based mostly on two components: retail functions and interbank functions. Retail functions refer to CBDCs that may be held and transacted straight by people and firms within the type of digital money. Interbank, or wholesale, CBDCs, in the meantime, are restricted to main monetary establishments for settlement.

“More than 60 central banks have already entered the central financial institution digital foreign money race,” said Benoit Sureau, a PwC partner for the France and Maghreb region. He described CBDCs as a “game-changer” that will provide “access to alternative payment solutions for citizens and corporates.”

The retail CBDC ranking gave the Bahamas a score of 92 out of 100 to lead all other countries. Cambodia was a distant second at 83, followed by Mainland China (75) and Ukraine (71).

The Bahamas scored favorably due to the successful implementation of its so-called Sand Dollar in October 2020. Backed by the Central Bank of The Bahamas, the Sand Dollar is a digital version of the national currency issued through authorized financial institutions. As PwC notes:

“All residents can access the digital wallet through the mobile application or a physical payment card. The records collected during daily operations, such as income and spending information, can support applications for micro-loans.”

As Cointelegraph recently reported, the Sand Dollar is nearing commercial rollout after achieving full interoperability between various wallet providers.

Although mainland China began developing its retail CBDC in 2014, the country failed to crack the top 10, according to PwC.

Project maturity for interbank CBDCs is being led by Thailand and Hong Kong, both of which achieved a score of 80 out of 100. Singapore is third, with a score of 75, followed by Canada (69), the United Kingdom (68) and France (64).

Thailand has been eyeing CBDC development since at least 2018, reaching a successful prototype the following year.