Peru is the latest country joining the global push to develop a central bank digital currency (CBDC), central bank President Julio Velarde said on Tuesday. The move is part of the effort of policymakers worldwide to keep pace with fast-spreading cryptocurrencies.
Speaking at a conference with business leaders in Lima, Velarde said that Peru’s central bank is working with the central banks of India, Singapore and Hong Kong in developing a CBDC.
“We are not going to be the first, because we don’t have the resources to be first and face those risks,” Velarde said, “But we don’t want to fall behind. At least we are at the same level or perhaps even further ahead than similarly sized peers, although behind Mexico and Brazil.”
In Latin America, several countries are in the advanced stages of implementation or development of a CBDC with Chile planning a rollout in 2022. Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Brazil, and several countries in the Caribbean are considering the option.
A digital currency issued by the central bank would be different from other cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, because this currency would give a person or business a direct claim on the central bank, the same as with physical cash.
Regulators around the world are cracking down on digital coins, alarmed at a rapidly expanding market that has bypassed sovereign central banks and could undermine their control of global financial systems.