James Wallis, Vice President of Ripple for Central Bank Engagements, recently highlighted the significance of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) in promoting worldwide financial inclusion. In a new YouTube video, Wallis underlines the goal of making financial services accessible globally, especially for those with lower incomes and without connections to traditional financial institutions.
Wallis explores the causes of financial exclusion, pointing out low incomes and lack of relationships with financial institutions as key reasons. This often leads to an absence of credit history, creating obstacles for those seeking financial services. In areas struggling with financial exclusion, traditional banks, motivated by shareholder interests, find it difficult to cater to those with limited means.
Wallis sees CBDCs as an efficient solution, offering financial services at a much lower cost than traditional methods. These digital currencies provide easy payment options and a way to build credit, even for those without previous connections to banks. This approach, according to Wallis, allows individuals to create credit histories, gain borrowing abilities, and foster business development. Essentially, CBDCs are seen as an innovative solution to the worldwide issue of financial inclusion. CBDCs are digital currencies issued by central banks and closely linked to the country’s official currency.
Wallis believes that the unique characteristics of CBDCs make them a key driver of change, particularly in financial inclusion.
From the IMF’s perspective, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggests that CBDCs might eventually replace cash. Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF’s Managing Director, views CBDCs as a tool for resilience, especially in more developed economies, and as a means to improve financial inclusion in areas with low bank account penetration, offering a different view on the potential of these digital currencies.
On the other hand, Mastercard, a leading global payment processor, remains cautious about CBDCs. Ashok Venkateswaran, Mastercard’s APAC Head for Digital Assets and Blockchain, argues that there isn’t enough justification yet for adopting CBDCs. He notes that consumers are still comfortable with existing currencies, highlighting the dependability of cash for transactions.