The Federal Reserve on Thursday highlighted the research and experimentation undertaken to enhance its understanding of the opportunities and risks associated with central bank digital currencies. The initiatives complement a broad set of payments-related innovation projects currently underway within the Federal Reserve System.
“Given the dollar’s important role, it is essential that the Federal Reserve remain on the frontier of research and policy development regarding central bank digital currencies,” said Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard. “Like other central banks, we are continuing to assess the opportunities and challenges of, as well as the use cases for, a digital currency, as a complement to cash and other payments options.”
Technological innovations inspire new ways to think about money. Consistent with its role in promoting a safe, accessible, and efficient U.S. payment system, the Federal Reserve is engaged in ongoing research and experimentation with the latest payment technologies. The Federal Reserve Board’s Technology Lab (TechLab) is expanding experimentation with technologies relevant to digital currencies and other payment innovations. The TechLab conducts hands-on research to further the Federal Reserve’s understanding of payment technologies and support development of policy views. The TechLab is a multidisciplinary team composed of Board and Federal Reserve Bank staff with expertise in payments, economics, law, information technology, and computer science.
In addition, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston is collaborating with researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on a multiyear effort to build a hypothetical digital currency oriented for central bank use. This research project is intended to support the Board’s broader efforts in assessing the safety and efficiency of central bank digital currency systems. The project focuses solely on developing an understanding of the capacities and limitations of the relevant technologies, rather than serving as a prototype for a Federal Reserve issued digital currency or addressing the wide-ranging policy issues associated with its potential issuance.
The Federal Reserve also continues its collaboration with other central banks and international organizations as it advances its understanding of central bank digital currencies.