Fortune 500 company Accenture has teamed up with Digital Dollar Foundation to conduct Central Bank Digital Currency, or CBDC, trials in the United States.
Announced on Monday, May 3, the newly formed Digital Dollar Project will carry out five CBDC pilot programs over the next 12 months. The project’s objective is to generate data to inform U.S. policymakers on how to develop a domestic digital currency.
The Digital Dollar Project will launch three pilot programs in the next two months, generating data on the functional, sociological, and business benefits of a digital greenback.
Al Jazeera reports that former chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and co-founder of the Digital Dollar Foundation, Christopher Giancarlo, emphasized the lack of U.S. data regarding CBDC:
“There are conferences and papers coming out every week around the world on CBDCs based on data from other countries. What there is not, is any real data and testing from the United States to inform that debate. We’re seeking to generate that real-world data.”
However, the Fed is taking a cautious approach as the guardian of the world’s reserve currency, the report added, with chairman Jerome Powell responding that it is far more important to get a digital dollar right than it is to be fast.
Giancarlo countered that Powell was correct to be cautious, but warned that the U.S. could fall further behind as China pushes ahead with its own CBDC testing and deployment.
While the U.S. Federal Reserve has been conducting research into the technology and applications for a CBDC, the United States lags behind the digital currency initiatives currently ongoing in numerous other jurisdictions.
China’s central bank and leading state banks have recently been preparing to test the digital yuan for a shopping festival on May 5.
Accenture has also worked on a number of CBDC projects in other countries, including Canada, Singapore, France, and Sweden — which has already completed the first phase of its pilot.
According to a study by the Bank for International Settlements, 80% of the world’s central banks are already researching central bank-issued digital currencies.