CBDCs today and tomorrow — Who will adopt next: Russia, China or the US?

7 min readJun 16, 2023


Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) are digital versions of fiat currencies issued by central banks and stored in digital wallets. CBDCs have the potential to revolutionize the way we pay for goods and services, and they are already being explored by central banks around the world.

In this blog post, we will discuss the CBDC meaning, how the CBDC currency works, and the potential benefits and risks of its adoption. We will also compare the CBDC projects of Russia, China, and the United States, and discuss which country is most likely to launch a CBDC first. Join us at YetAnotherDeFi as we uncover the intricacies of CBDCs and their potential future.

What is a CBDC?

Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) have emerged as a hot topic in the world of finance and technology. As the digital revolution continues to reshape our lives, central banks around the globe are exploring the concept of issuing their own digital currencies. But is CBDC a cryptocurrency, really, and what implications does it hold for the financial landscape?

At its core, a CBDC refers to a digital form of fiat money that is issued and regulated by a country’s central bank. It serves as a digital representation of the nation’s official currency, designed to be used for electronic transactions within the economy. Unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, or even more decentralized coins, such as UNI or Dai, that can be swapped with no third party involved whatsoever, CBDCs are centralized and fall under the control of the respective central bank.

One key distinction of CBDCs is that they are legal tender, just like physical cash. This means that CBDCs hold the same value and can be used for various transactions, such as purchasing goods and services, making payments, or settling debts. The primary goal of introducing CBDCs is to provide a digital alternative to physical cash while retaining the benefits of a regulated and stable currency.

But will CBDC replace cash eventually? It is unlikely that CBDCs will completely replace cash in the near future. Cash is still widely used in many parts of the world, and it is often seen as a more convenient and secure form of payment for small transactions. So, CBDCs are likely to coexist with cash for the next decade or so.

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How does CBDC technology work?

The technology underlying CBDCs can vary, but blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) are often considered as potential solutions. At its core, CBDC technology leverages digital infrastructure and advanced cryptographic techniques. These things enable secure and efficient transactions on the network. However, the key components of CBDC technology might also include issuance and distribution mechanisms, digital wallets, robust security measures, and as said earlier, distributed ledger technology.

Issuance and Distribution

Who is responsible for issuance and distribution of a CBDC? Central banks. They do it in the same vein with creating traditional fiat currencies and determining the rules and regulations governing their use. How does CBDC work offline? CBDCs can be distributed to the public through various channels, including direct issuance to individuals, authorized financial institutions, or designated intermediaries.

Digital Wallets

CBDCs are typically stored in digital wallets to be accessed through mobile applications or other digital devices. Digital wallets provide a secure and convenient means for individuals and businesses to hold, manage, and transact with CBDCs. A CBDC wallet might come with user-friendly interfaces, allowing users to check their balances, make payments, and receive funds seamlessly.

Security Measures

Is CBDC safe, though? CBDC technology incorporates robust security measures to safeguard against fraud, counterfeiting, and unauthorized access. Advanced cryptographic techniques, including encryption, digital signatures, and secure authentication protocols, protect the integrity and confidentiality of CBDC transactions. Multi-factor authentication and biometric verification may also be implemented to enhance security and prevent unauthorized use of CBDCs.

Distributed Ledger Technology

Centralized distributed ledger technology plays a crucial role in creating CBDC. It serves as the underlying infrastructure for recording and validating CBDC transactions in a transparent manner. DLT ensures that all transactions are securely stored in a digital ledger, providing an immutable and auditable history of transactions. This enhances transparency and trust in the CBDC system. However, as safe as it is, it also completely erases the concept of user’s anonymity due to its centralization. That’s why maybe some DeFi solutions might sound quite compelling in certain cases.

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Pros and Cons of CBDCs

CBDCs are still in their early stages of development, but if popularized, they could offer a number of benefits, including:

  • Faster and cheaper payments: CBDCs could be used to make payments instantly and for a fraction of the cost of traditional methods, such as credit cards or wire transfers.
  • Greater convenience: CBDCs could be used to make payments anywhere, at any time, without the need for physical cash or credit cards.
  • Improved financial inclusion: CBDCs could make it easier for people who do not have access to traditional financial services to participate in the economy.

However, what are CBDC risks?

  • Privacy concerns: CBDCs could be more easily tracked than traditional cash, which could raise privacy concerns.
  • Security risks: they could be vulnerable to cyberattacks, which could lead to financial losses.
  • Government control: central bank-issued coins could give governments more control over the financial system, which could be used to restrict economic activity or to track citizens’ spending habits.

That said, with all the benefits mentioned, it’s no wonder that monetary authorities are actively promoting Central Bank Digital Currencies as a means to simplify fiscal policies and enhance the effectiveness of monetary measures.

CBDC projects by status

What are CBDC examples? There are a number of CBDC projects underway around the world, and the status of these projects varies. Some countries are further along in their CBDC development than others. Here is a quick look at what has been happening in the niche lately:

  • China is the furthest along in its CBDC development. The People’s Bank of China has already conducted a number of trials of its CBDC, and it is expected to launch a pilot program in 2022.
  • Both Russia and Iran are actively developing CBDC projects and exploring the prospect of creating a gold-backed stablecoin as a potential instrument for circumventing restrictions.
  • But does the U.S. Have a CBDC? The Fed has not yet made a decision on whether or not to issue a CBDC. However, it has been conducting research on the topic and has published a number of papers on the potential benefits and risks of CBDCs.

Interestingly, the Bahamas became the first country to launch a CBDC, called the Sand Dollar, in October 2020. Also, the Riksbank, Sweden’s central bank, is conducting a pilot program for a CBDC currency called e-krona, and the Bank of Canada is exploring the possibility of issuing a CBDC.

The U.S. vs China war over the launch of CBDC

The race to launch Central Bank Digital Currencies has intensified between the United States and China, as both economic powerhouses vie for dominance in the digital currency realm. Let’s delve into the problem somewhat deeper.

China has taken a proactive approach in developing its CBDC, the digital yuan. The coin aims to strengthen the country’s domestic payment systems, reduce reliance on traditional banking infrastructure, and enhance financial inclusivity. With a vast population and a thriving digital payment ecosystem already in place, China has a head start in achieving widespread adoption of its CBDC.

In contrast, the United States has been cautious in its approach to CBDC development. The Federal Reserve has been conducting research and rather exploring the potential benefits and risks associated with a digital dollar. The U.S. government recognizes the importance of digital currencies but emphasizes the need for a thorough analysis of the implications, including monetary policy, privacy, and security concerns.

However, the competition between the U.S. and China might fuel the adoption of the coin in the country. Since it might have political implications. The widespread adoption of a CBDC currency can potentially enhance the U.S.’s influence in the global financial landscape. And now China’s aggressive push to launch the digital yuan is seen as an attempt to challenge the U.S. dollar’s dominance as the world’s reserve currency. By establishing a digital currency that offers cross-border capabilities and bypasses traditional financial intermediaries, China aims to strengthen its position in international trade and finance.


CBDCs are a new technology with the potential to revolutionize the way we pay for goods and services. They are already being explored by central banks around the world, and it is likely that we will see a number of CBDCs launched in the coming years.

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