,Bank Negara, which also addressed the CBDC topic through a feature article in its latest annual report, said most digital assets (which Bitcoin is one), in their current form, are not used as payment instruments primarily because they do not exhibit the universal characteristics of money.
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ONE of the few benefits that Covid-19 has brought along is the acceleration of the structural shift towards digitalisation as measures undertaken by government’s across the globe focussed on minimising physical contacts to contain the spread.
Apart from the major shift in working from home arrangements, an area that has seen a strong growth momentum is payment systems.
Malaysia for instance, recorded a strong pick up in e-wallet adoption as consumers cut down on the usage of physical cash due to hygiene concerns, among others.
A recent study by tech research house Juniper Research founded that the number of unique e-wallet users will exceed 4.4 billion globally in 2025, up from 2.6 billion last year.
In Malaysia, statistics from Bank Negara showed that the number of e-money accounts jumped 37.38% in 2020 to 113.55 million accounts.
While the volume of transactions declined by 12.44% to 1.83 billion transactions last year, there was a notable increase in the value transacted by 62.64% to RM29.6bil.
The heightened interest surrounding the need for more seamless, convenient and inclusive payment systems has once again cast the spotlight on the central bank digital currency (CBDC) concept.
This has become more apparent after the Central Bank of Bahamas launched the world’s first CBDC in October last year, known as the Sand Dollar, being the digital version of the Bahamas dollar.
For starters, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) defines CBDC as a digital banknote, which could be used by businesses to pay businesses, shops or each other, known as a retail CBDC or between financial institutions to settle trades in financial markets, known as a wholesale CBDC.
It adds that CBDC is also different from existing forms of cashless payment instruments for consumers such as credit transfers, direct debits, card payments and e-money, as it represents a direct claim on a central bank, rather than a liability of a private financial institution.
This type of riskless claim also makes CBDC different from cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or other private digital tokens.
Bank Negara, which also addressed the CBDC topic through a feature article in its latest annual report, said most digital assets (which Bitcoin is one), in their current form, are not used as payment instruments primarily because they do not exhibit the universal characteristics of money.
“In essence, their characteristics prevent them from being a good store of value and medium of exchange as they are prone to price volatility, vulnerable to cyber threats and lack scalability.