Rwandan central bank proceeds with ambitious retail CBDC project

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The African country is eyeing a tokenized retail CBDC with offline transfer capabilities as it heads toward a cashless economy.

The National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) has opened up its just completed feasibility study on a retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) to public comment. The BNR is considering a national digital currency that incorporates the latest innovations in the technology and is highly tailored to local conditions.

A retail CBDC would advance Rwanda’s cashless economy national initiative and increase the resilience of the financial system, which is still subject to frequent power outages, the BNR found. The central bank expects to spend $35 million on printing and maintaining its cash supply in the next five years, despite its cashless goal.

The BNR is proposing an interest-free, intermediated CBDC with interoperability with all the country’s existing payment systems and potentially other CBDCs. after the appropriate amendments to the country’s Central Bank Act are made. It recommended a token-based, rather than account-based, model with open programmability and smart contracts.

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