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Peru Considering CBDC to Improve Payment System: Former IMF Adviser

According to John Kiff, research director of the Sovereign Official Digital Association, the Central Reserve Bank of Peru (CRBP) has issued the first in a series of papers examining the necessity, design, and timing of a Peruvian central bank digital currency. (SODA). His report focuses on challenges of a retail CBDC.

The current state of competing payment systems in Peru is unsustainable, according to the CBRP, but the introduction of a CBDC, combined with new policies to improve access and interoperability of existing systems, would assist the central bank in overcoming barriers to financial inclusion and lowering transaction costs. “The goal of a CBDC within the framework of Peru’s payment system is to give the unbanked population access to digital payments,” according to the research, “so it is important to know their characteristics to prepare an implementation strategy.”

Peru has significant challenges. Approximately half of the country’s population is unbanked. Three-quarters of the unbanked are from “non-poor” households, while over 79% have no savings. They mostly reside in cities and practically all of them work on the side. Almost all unbanked people own cell phones.

Despite this, the usage of digital payments in Peru has surged fivefold since 2015, according to the research. According to the study, the recent report marked the conclusion of the first of five processes towards the prospective creation of a CBDC. There was no mention of a CBDC development schedule. The CBRP also sent a 25-question survey to potential users, which is due on April 30.

Under a May 2021 agreement, Peru obtained technical support from the International Monetary Fund in the development of the study. In November 2021, CBRP President Julio Velarde declared that the government will collaborate with India, Singapore, and Hong Kong to create a CBDC.

SODA is a technology-agnostic consulting business that specializes on central banking, digital finance, and the Web3 sector. Kiff has worked as an IMF section specialist.


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