Welcome to this analysis about Central-Bank-Digital-Currencies in which I will explore the ongoing process by central banks to generate Digital-Currencies that replicate the individual Fiat-Currency, its characteristics, its possible manifestations, and its differences to the classical cryptocurrencies we all know as Bitcoin or Ethereum created in the beginning.
Since Cryptocurrency was invented by the esteemed Satoshi Nakamoto publishing the open-source white-paper about Bitcoin as a completely decentralized Peer-To-Peer Digital-Currency which supply is limited and is generated through mining and the Proof-Of-Work concept many other decentralized cryptocurrencies emerged such as Ethereum or Litecoin that approved a secure and stable way of payment solutions operating within the determined blockchains. This completely new form of currency and the digital interface was watched by critics as well as supporters and a hype created with cryptocurrency enthusiasts accelerating the innovation process in cryptocurrency. On the other side, banks and governments watched the Cryptocurrency development not always with a non-critical eye, and especially in this process central banks took a greater study into the technology and the idea came into the foreground for digital currencies held and issued by the central banks that should replicate the real fiat-money which is printed by the central banks and distributed through commercial banks. The digital currencies that should be issued by the central banks became the name CBDC (Central-Bank-Digital-Currency) and today many countries' central banks started to work on pilot projects and prototypes to launch the digital replicate of fiat money, in some countries they are already launched and implemented in the economy.
- Comparing The Classical Concept Of Cryptocurrency To The Central Bank Concept Of Digital-Currency
The main characteristics of the classical cryptocurrency like invented in 2009 are that it is decentralized and that its supply is limited while the bitcoins are generated through the mining process there can be no more than 21 Million Bitcoins at all that defines the value of Bitcoin as miners need to improve the technological alignments to rightly mine the Bitcoins and come up with a mining-revenue to keep the process ongoing. On the other side, there is fiat money which is printed in the central bank printing press and which supply can be multiplied by will especially in times of crisis as it was in the last year the money supply increased exponentially by the central banks, this has an inflationary character and comes up with many other issues as in times of crisis the central banks need to print always more and more money as before. Now the fiat money printed by the central banks is issued to commercial banks with zero interests at this time and from there is supplied to the merchants and persons who taking up credits and which account money is held in a bank account as a "digital back-up" by the printed fiat money, the tendency with this bank account money is also to be multiplied by the banks and moved around in the system to be taken for credits so that one holds money in an account while it is used for the other individual's credit. Now as the central banks working on the digital currencies to substitute the fiat money in circulation the biggest difference is that its supply is not limited like it is in Bitcoin or many other cryptocurrencies, as the central bank fiat money can be printed further this is also the case with the upcoming central-bank-digital-currencies. Besides that the central-bank-digital-currencies are not decentral because they are issued by a central authority like the central bank , the system on which the CBDC is settled can be decentral however on a broader scale it is still centralized by the individual central bank , there is still a difference if the CBDC model is indirect, direct or hybrid nevertheless it is always centralized as the intern blockchain is created by the certain central bank . Another factor is also privacy as the public Bitcoin blockchain does not store any private user information, depending on the model with a CBDC this can be very different as there is indeed the possibility that private user information is stored in the blockchain by the central bank . Taking all these assumptions into consideration it comes to the conclusion that CBDCs aren't the same as the classical cryptocurrencies in common sense, it is rather a system that replaces the fiat money with digital money and gives the central bank much better opportunities to handle, store and track it with a faster network and potential storage of data.
- Examining Models On How Central-Bank-Digital-Currencies Can Function
With the gained assumptions it is important to note that there are different type models under which CBDCs can operate. Every model has its own characteristics and handles money circulation in an altered cycle. Besides that, the different models can have very different effects on the economy and especially on sectors like the banking industry or payment solution providers. Furthermore, the types on how payment data and information is stored differ within these models. It is highly necessary to recognize these concepts to assume how the CBDC infrastructure affects the economical landscape.
The Indirect CBDC Model
Within this model, the central bank keeps track records of wholesale accounts by the commercial bank as an intermediary between the central bank and the persons or merchants. The consumer as the person or merchant has a claim with the intermediary as the commercial bank and handles payments with the commercial bank. In this case, the intermediary handles all the communication with the consumer as retail clients and its net payment information, sending payment messages and storing the data. It would be a similar model to the actual credit distribution that exists with credits given by the central banks to commercial banks and from these distributed to the persons or merchants.
The Direct CBDC Model
The Direct CBDC Model functions differently from the Indirect one as the payments are handled directly between the central banks and the persons or merchants, in this case, receives, stores, and processes the information given by the consumer. This model is much more functional and practicable for the central bank as the commercial banks as intermediaries aren't necessary for the gateway. A full-scale implementation of this model will cause a higher decrease in commercial banks at all of which the sector already struggles, the model would further this process. The model would also set the central bank as the central authority handling all the payment relevant mechanisms with the consumer as persons or merchants.
The Hybrid CBDC Model
In this model the Persons or Merchants have a direct claim on the CBDC with the central bank while an intermediary, in this case, a PSP (Payment-Service-Provider) keeps track of the payments information and handles direct payments, the PSP in this case does not need to be a bank essentially. It is also integrated within that when technical issues come up with failures in the system that the central bank can handle direct payments with the consumers and restore retail balances. This system offers more flexibility at the cost of a more complex infrastructure to operate for the central bank . Besides that, it has a similar negative effect on the banks like the direct model as banks are not necessarily needed for the payment communication.
It is not unlikely that the development of Central-Bank-Digital-Currencies will keep going within the upcoming times, therefore it is necessary to elevate how these diverging models can affect the actual economy. As many countries moving on with the projects and prosecution of CBDCs these will be realized in a more fulfilled way with a high possibility and it will be an important question on central banks will govern these CBDCs as they aren't decentralized like the cryptocurrency roots they can not be held as a direct comparison to these and are indeed a fiat money replication in digital terms, it will definitely open new doors for the central-banks money policy however what it has for effects on consumers as peoples or merchants is a serious examination.