The Central Bank of Kenya has adopted an ambivalent stance on the issuance of a central bank digital currency (CBDC), stating that it may not be a compelling priority and that the allure of a CBDC is fading. In a Twitter statement published on Friday, the central bank revealed that it had received over 100 comments during a consultation initiated in February. The respondents, including representatives from commercial banks and institutions from nine countries, pointed out both the potential benefits and risks associated with a CBDC.
Challenges and Concerns Surrounding CBDC Implementation
Among the benefits cited by the respondents was increased efficiency in the payments system. However, they also highlighted concerns such as high implementation costs and the risk of financial exclusion. The central bank acknowledged that countries that had already launched a CBDC faced challenges that hindered successful implementation. It further noted that recent instability in the cryptocurrency market had amplified these concerns.
Notably, Nigeria has faced difficulties with CBDC adoption, while the central bank of the Bahamas stated in May that it was working on a strategy to improve the adoption of its CBDC, three years after its launch. The collapse of stablecoin issuer Terra and crypto exchange FTX, combined with the market turbulence during the “crypto winter” last year, further contributed to the diminishing allure of CBDCs.
In light of these factors, the Central Bank of Kenya emphasized that addressing the pain points in the country’s payments systems could be achieved through innovations built around the existing ecosystem. The central bank expressed that a CBDC may not be a compelling priority at this time.
However, the bank also stated that it would continue to monitor developments in CBDCs to inform future assessments. While the immediate focus may not be on issuing a CBDC. The central bank recognizes the potential impact of digital currencies and remains open to exploring their possibilities in the future.
The consultation process undertaken by the Central Bank of Kenya underscores this. The cautious approach taken by central banks worldwide in assessing the viability of CBDCs. As digital currencies continue to evolve and global adoption trends fluctuate. The central banks are carefully evaluating the benefits and risks associated. With CBDCs to make informed decisions that align with their respective national contexts.
The Central Bank of Kenya’s balanced approach reflects its commitment to ensuring financial stability and promoting inclusive financial services. By considering the feedback received during the consultation. And closely monitoring the developments in the CBDC space. The central bank is positioned to make informed decisions. They best serve the interests of the Kenyan economy and its citizens.