As the world rapidly evolves in the digital age, the concept of currency is undergoing a significant digital transformation. Imagine if the central banks that print paper cash today decide to use Blockchain or Distributed Ledger Technology to introduce even 10% of the over $10T of paper cash in circulation today. Imagine if that could be done in a way that allows the digital cash to be as trusted as paper cash, to move peer to peer like bitcoin, to be used in real time via various channels like QR codes, USSD, cold wallets, hosted wallets and doesn’t require a bank account to hold or use. This could address key liquidity issues that other digital assets can’t address effectively and fill in gaps in the current structures.Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) is emerging as a major innovation with the promise to revolutionize the global financial landscape. As of 2022, 93% of central banks are now developing a digital currency strategy. Despite the growing misconceptions or fears about CBDC, the modernization of the financial infrastructure is arguably just another cycle of the evolution of sovereign currencies, but the concerns/pain points of users will have to be addressed in order for CBDC to gain adoption. Money has evolved over time from coins to cards schemes using a complex web of stakeholders and mobile money schemes using telecommunication infrastructure. We’ve witnessed several of those stages. The introduction of blockchain technology and the ability to represent physical assets virtually as digital tokens offers new and modern capabilities for ownership and movement of money. To understand this phenomenon, let’s discuss some examples:
- Bitcoin proved how powerful that technology could be and despite its flaws, is seeing the rise of institutional adoption and regulation.
- Looking at deposit-backed stablecoins, this can be understood as the representation of bank deposits balances in digital token form that are stored and exchanged virtually. This is being done for both peer to peer and business related transactions.
Unlike purely decentralized currency like Bitcoin or tokenization of bank deposits into stablecoins, tokenized cash (CBDC) – when issued by a central bank – offers unique properties such as being a legal tender and being fully backed by the same central bank that backs paper cash. The same way bitcoin and stablecoins can be integrated into finance applications, so should digital cash. Paper cash has a physical infrastructure that ensures its issuance, distribution and elimination, digital cash will need its infrastructure as well. That’s why we’ve been working on CBDC as a digital cash infrastructure that financial service providers can integrate into a broad set of financial services.
Combined with modern regulatory frameworks, tokenizing $10 trillions of paper cash will be the biggest game changer for:.
- Fintech ecosystems servicing unbanked/underbanked users (cash users or merchants)
- Last mile remittance distribution
- Liquidity in web 3 networks.
- Cross border payments
- E-Commerce / Trade payments
Most central banks recognize that CBDC is an opportunity to continue to deliver on their mandate by maintaining a version of the sovereign currencies in a Web 3 era (tokenization of assets and their movement are powered by blockchain/programmability/cryptography).
What’s still left unclear is what’s in it for the private sector? What are the incentives for financial service providers and what are the business models CBDC could support. Honestly, most central banks don’t always have the answer either, because…. It depends and consumer preferences continue to evolve.
We believe fintechs and financial service providers stand to gain substantially from developing new business models and offerings using digital cash. There’s a tremendous opportunity to build a trusted relationship and service cash based users who are offline today, and imagine being able to service customers without needing a bank partner. This user segment represents an untapped market ready for innovative solutions.
That is why today, we are thrilled to announce the launch of the CBDC Innovation Kit! We designed this offering to empower financial service providers and fintech solution providers to explore the new possibilities in a world where cash would be available as a digital token, web-3 enabled and accessible via APIs. This kit will give fintechs a head start in this new CBDC journey that is now in full force..
So, What is the CBDC Innovation Kit?
A turnkey offering for fintechs to quickly start testing their fintech apps and platforms with a simulated CBDC token. The goal is to help answer the question: What’s in it for me?. We simulated Beyond Cash (BYDC) and it is accessible via a core set of APIs. We offer free, startup, enterprise and partner packages to be as inclusive as possible. This is meant to be a risk-free and cost effective investment that could help you grow your business.
What do you get?
- Access to CBDC Simulator: “Beyond Cash” (™) (BYDC):
The CBDC Innovation Kit gives access to a pre-minted simulated CBDC token named BYDC that is deployed on Hedera Layer 1. This token is minted and transferred via native wallets for testing wholesale and retail transactions. The token is not issued by a central bank, instead, it represents a simulated version of cash for the purpose of exploring and innovating,
2. CBDC APIs & Dashboards:
Our Innovation Kit provides a suite of APIs that considers a growing fintech ecosystem and the need to ensure that cash continues to be inclusive, safe, resilient, trusted and decentralized. Use our single APIs to create wallets, transfer funds peer to peer and retrieve history ledger data. We created the dashboards so you don’t have to at this stage. See your wallet balances and transactions all in one place.
- BYDC Wallets and Tokens:
The CBDC Innovation Kit reflects the flexible wallet and token framework we adopted with Institutional and End User wallets that can be used in various use cases in various flows and combinations. The End User wallets are interoperable via the same protocol, and portable regardless of the app the wallet owner uses.
- Design Thinking Workshops::
With our complimentary Design Thinking Workshops, we help fintechs using the CBDC Innovation Kit understand how our digital cash infrastructure could work for their apps and platforms.
What’s ahead: After launching our private alpha that we showcased with HaitiPay, we onboarded 7 more fintechs ranging from startups to growing fintechs companies. Now, we are delighted to finally bring our CBDC to the broader fintech ecosystem!
CBDCs are coming, and fintechs stand to gain. Although we’re starting with the basics, we’re keen to push innovation to new heights safely. The launch of the CBDC Innovation Kit brings the major innovation that is CBDC closer to the fintech ecosystem like never before. We are confident this will help them explore new possibilities of CBDC ahead of eventual deployments. With our CBDC Innovation Kit, they can discover the transformative power of digital cash infrastructure, enhancing financial inclusion, enabling faster and more secure transactions, and unlocking new opportunities to grow and scale…