The Philippines Unveils Plans for Wholesale CBDC, Taking a Different Path

The Philippines may embark on its own CBDC journey, which will diverge from the path chosen by many other countries.

The Philippines plans to launch a central bank digital currency (CBDC) by 2026, with a slight catch.

📷 Image Source: Unsplash

The Philippines seems to be venturing into the world of central bank-issued digital currency (CBDC) with a unique approach. Governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Benjamin E. Diokno, recently shared the country’s plans for a wholesale version of the CBDC, which is set to be launched within the next two years.

But here’s the twist – the Philippines will not be turning to blockchain technology, the backbone of many digital assets, for its CBDC. In a statement, Diokno pointed out that other central banks had tried using blockchain, but it didn’t go well for them. Instead, the BSP plans to operate the CBDC on a payment and settlement system owned by the central bank itself.

Why Wholesale?

The decision to focus on a wholesale CBDC is rooted in a thorough study conducted by the BSP. The study highlighted the potential issues associated with a retail CBDC, which could worsen the situation in the event of a bank run during a financial crisis. Instead, a wholesale CBDC offers the opportunity to enhance efficiency and safety in domestic and cross-border payments.

By taking this path, the Philippines appears to be following in the footsteps of countries like China and Sweden, both of which are currently exploring their own CBDCs. Drawing from the experiences of these nations, the Philippines aims to provide a digital alternative to cash while also posing as competition to cryptocurrencies.

What About Cryptocurrencies?

In the past, the Philippines has expressed a degree of caution towards the crypto industry, taking measures to protect its local market. In fact, just last December, the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reminded users that Binance remains banned in the region. The launch of a CBDC could potentially serve as a government-backed alternative to cryptocurrencies, offering a more regulated and controlled digital currency option.

While Governor Diokno didn’t provide an exact launch date, he expressed confidence that the CBDC would be introduced during his tenure as governor of the BSP. This represents an exciting step forward for the Philippines and its financial landscape.

Q&A Section

Q: Why did the Philippines choose not to use blockchain technology for its CBDC? A: According to Governor Diokno, other central banks’ experiences with blockchain technology did not yield favorable results. As a result, the Philippines is opting for a payment and settlement system owned by the central bank itself.

Q: What is the difference between a retail CBDC and a wholesale CBDC? A: A retail CBDC is designed for use by the general public and can have implications during a financial crisis as it may exacerbate bank runs. On the other hand, a wholesale CBDC is primarily aimed at improving the efficiency and safety of domestic and cross-border payments.

Q: How does the Philippines plan to rival cryptocurrencies with its CBDC? A: By introducing a government-backed digital currency, the Philippines aims to provide a regulated and controlled alternative to cryptocurrencies. This can instill confidence among users while offering a more familiar and secure digital currency option.

Future Outlook

The Philippines’ decision to launch a wholesale CBDC without relying on blockchain technology sets it apart from other countries. While this approach may seem unconventional, it showcases the country’s determination to harness digital innovation while addressing the unique challenges associated with financial crises.

With the launch of the CBDC potentially happening in the next two years, the Philippines has the opportunity to transform its financial landscape. By offering a government-backed digital currency, the country can stay ahead of the curve in the rapidly evolving world of finance.

As more countries explore CBDCs, the global financial ecosystem will undergo significant changes. This shift towards digital currencies reflects the need for greater financial inclusion, increased transaction efficiency, and improved security. Whether through wholesale or retail CBDCs, central banks are recognizing the potential of digital currencies to shape the future of finance.

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