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The Central Reserve Bank of Peru (BCRP) is preparing to conduct pilot tests of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), with support from the IMF, as a measure to foster financial inclusion in the country. The announcement was made through Circular No. 0011-2024BCRP, entitled “Regulation of Innovation Pilots in Digital Money”.

The pilots aim to facilitate access to digital payment services for the unbanked population, improving the convenience of economic transactions.

According to the circular, although digital payment services have grown considerably in recent years, most of this growth has only benefited the banked population. In other words, there is still a significant portion of the population that does not have access to these services.

BCRP is in line with the global trend of exploring CBDCs as a means of promoting financial inclusion. Like Chile, Peru’s main financial body is evaluating the feasibility of implementing this technology to reach those who predominantly rely on physical cash and have limited access to the internet.

Pero partners with the private sector

The pilot projects, which will involve the use of digital money issued by the central bank, will be conducted in collaboration with the private sector as the distributor of digital money to the population.

The objective of these pilots is to acquire knowledge about safe and efficient mechanisms to facilitate access to digital payments by the unbanked population.

Since 2021, the IMF has provided technical assistance to BCRP in this process. The first phase, called the “Assumption Testing Phase”, began with an initial technical assistance mission that helped the central bank define the context, key questions and possible approaches to studying the viability of CBDCs in Peru.

According to the official BCRP publication, the IMF’s continued support has been crucial to understanding the conditions necessary for the success of CBDCs and the role of the various stakeholders in the process.

Global Perspectives on CBDCs

Although only 1% of countries have officially approved CBDCs, many others are exploring or implementing this technology.

CBDCs are not a new idea, having their origins around 30 years ago. The Finnish experience, although pioneering, left important lessons about the challenges and possibilities of CBDCs.

Among the main obstacles to CBDCs are privacy and cybersecurity issues. Furthermore, the potential impact on the traditional financial system stands out. Therefore, countries have sought to address these challenges to ensure successful and responsible implementation of CBDCs.

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