Paper dwells upon the phenomenon of the emergence of central banks’ digital currencies (CBDC). Forms of digital money as means of exchange have been identified, and differences between central banks’ digital currencies and other forms of central bank money such as physical money and reserves have been analyzed. Key causes of digital currency development by central banks were highlighted: the approach to the cashless economy, the fight against money laundering and tax evasion, the increasing competition of private digital currencies, the improvement of the monetary policy transmission mechanism, and technological advancement of the payment sector. Key differences between CBDC and private digital currencies and physical currencies were analyzed and highlighted in terms of availability, anonymity, P2P transfers, interest-bearing features, and other possible limits. The main advantages of the CBDC were noted: stability and reliability, safety, speed and ease of use. At the same time, a list of prerequisites and factors that could enhance the benefits of central banks implementing their digital currencies were highlighted: more efficient retail payments, diminishing cash payments, strengthening the effectiveness of monetary policy and improving financial stability. Existing options for the design of the CBDC have been clarified, taking into account the technological aspect and the scope: “retail” for the general public and “wholesale” for financial institutions. Key warnings of the central banks of the world about the possible negative consequences of launching the CBDC were noted, in particular, the disturbance of the financial system balance, when the flow of commercial bank clients to the central bank will force the first to raise deposit rates, which will eventually affect the cost of borrowing. The attitude of the key central banks of the world to the phenomenon of cryptocurrency development was noted, in particular, a much more positive attitude towards blockchain technology was observed compared to the position of the central banks on digital assets in general. At the same time, technological problems of blockchain technology in terms of its throughput capacity (number of transactions per unit of time) were noted, which is significantly inferior to other existing payment platforms. Central banks of the world have been grouped based on the CBDC development principles, and public justifications for the need for CBDC implementation. The key ones being to reduce cash use and increase financial inclusion. The four existing options for the introduction of the CBDC were analyzed, each of which has individual features. The combined efforts of the world’s central banks to study and test various aspects of the technical implementation of the CBDC in the form of joint projects were systematized.
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