Digital Finance | Emerging Trends | ITU-T Standards
June 25, 2018

ITU workshop to host Central Banks pioneering the introduction of digital fiat currency

By David Wen, Chairman of the ITU Focus Group on ‘Digital Currency including Digital Fiat Currency’

As Central Banks grow increasingly interested in understanding and issuing digital fiat currency (DFC), they face critical questions about its implications for macroeconomic stability, its technical implementation, and subsequent security.

As part of the work of the ITU Focus Group investigating DFC, we are eager to share the perspectives of several Central Banks actively implementing, pursuing and exploring DFC applications in their jurisdictions.

Our Focus Group will meet for the second time next month in New York, U.S., 18-20 July, a meeting that will include an ITU workshop featuring presentations from Central Banks that have emerged as prominent thought leaders in debates around DFC.

These events will gather thought leaders from regulatory, technical and security fields to discuss current applications of DFC, and prospects for future cases and implications.

Presentations from countries breaking new ground

Our country case studies will draw attention to DFC’s implications for stability, impact and related policy and regulatory frameworks. We will explore reference architectures underlying DFC as well as the responsibilities of stakeholders in DFC’s supporting technical and business ecosystem.

Sweden’s Riksbank will offer a talk on the country’s planned introduction of the e-Krona, an introduction many consider to be the world’s definitive DFC pilot project. Sweden will highlight the fundamental requirements to be met by the e-Krona, as well as the motivations behind the e-Krona’s introduction to what is already a near-cashless economy.

Neighbouring Norway has published an influential Whitepaper on DFC and representatives of the Norwegian Central Bank will join our meeting in New York to lead our discussions of DFC’s relationship to financial stability.

The People’s Bank of China will share insight into its DFC ambitions, ambitions to be viewed against the backdrop of China’s flourishing mobile payments industry and yet heavy dependence on cash.

The Philippines will take us through a leading case study of public-private collaboration in the Philippines’ DFC project, ePiso, a first-of-a-kind project led by a commercial bank as part of the Fintech innovation ‘sandbox’ offered by the country’s Central Bank.

The Central Bank of Egypt will introduce its plans to accommodate DFC in the country’s law and regulation.

The Central Bank of Brazil will introduce discuss its own DFC examinations and present a topical ‘DFC taxonomy’, highlighting emerging commonalities in terminology and comprehension.

The Reserve Bank of India will present India’s DFC strategy, ‘Blueprint DFC’, and the country’s vision for DFC’s contribution to the Digital India agenda.

Common challenges in regulation and standardization

In the second day of our workshop, we look thematically at questions and topics in the DFC ecosystem. These panels build on and contribute to the ongoing work of our Focus Group’s three Working Groups: Regulatory Requirements & Economic Impacts; Reference Architecture & Ecosystem; and Security.

Our Focus Group places ITU’s technical expertise at the service of Central Banks interested in introducing secure DFC. Stakeholders in DFC ecosystem include not only the Central Banks that set requirements, but also the financial institutions, payment systems, and FinTech vendors that will bring life to DFC implementations. The upcoming New York meetings will feature these voices as well as those of bodies such as GSMA, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Global Platform, and their members – stakeholders helping to contribute to a standardized reference architecture for DFC.

DFC – by definition, and in its implementation – will be accessible to all people, businesses and government institutions, enshrined with legitimacy, security and efficiency.

At the heart of the Group’s work are questions relevant to the interoperability and security of DFC, in particular the regulation and standardization necessary to achieve this. Experts from the International Monetary Fund, the Bank for International Settlements, the U.S. Federal Reserve and the U.S. Department of Treasury will join us in New York to offer their analyses, critiques and recommendations based on country use cases, touching on these three pervasive themes.

Join the work of our Focus Group

ITU Focus Groups define new directions in ITU standardization. They are open to all interested parties.

Our Focus Group is building a common understanding of the foundations of DFC and its relationship with payment ecosystems, ICT infrastructure and the latest innovations in digital currency.

Our work is driven in collaboration by Central Banks, ICT regulators, commercial banks, financial-service providers, network operators, security professionals, Fintech innovators, and technical and financial standards bodies.

I welcome you to join this highly diverse, highly engaged group of DFC innovators.

Learn more about the group, register for the New York meetings, and request access to working group materials on the homepage of the ITU Focus Group on ‘Digital Currency including Digital Fiat Currency’.

Dr. David Wen
David is the co-founder and Chief Scientist of eCurrency. He brings over 20 years of experience and technological thought leadership in the area of digital currency, distributed ledger, identity management, security protocol design, cryptography, key management, and electronic payment systems. He was the security architect behind the design and implementation of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Common Access Smart Card, and went on to become the Chief Scientist of SAIC helping the entire US government to adopt the Personal Identity Verification (PIV) program. He has 11 U.S. and EU patents in the area of security protocol and cryptography.
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ITU workshop to host Central Banks pioneering the introduction of digital fiat currency

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