The Central Bank of Honduras (BCH) has taken a significant step toward the potential launch of its own central bank digital currency (CBDC) by initiating a pilot study and opening a public consultation. The move comes as part of the bank’s efforts to modernize its financial system and address existing challenges in payment methods.
Pilot Study Aimed Toward Creating CBDC
The pilot study was revealed by the Apex bank on X, formerly known as Twitter, and is aimed at developing and launching a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The bank has invited interested sectors, professionals, and the general public to provide comments and insights on this groundbreaking initiative. The consultation, accessible through the official BCH website, was unveiled following the presentation of BCH’s research on new payment options to the Innovation Table of Financial Innovation (MIF). This platform brings together representatives from the public and private financial sectors, fostering collaboration and innovative thinking.
The study, titled “The future of money and payments in Honduras, which route to follow?”, was meticulously crafted by the BCH with technical support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The document evaluates potential alternatives that could be implemented in the Central American nation, aligning with the IMF’s broader efforts to promote CBDCs across Latin America.
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Central to the study’s objectives is the exploration of solutions that address not only financial inclusion but also the current challenges faced by Honduras, including interoperability issues and delays in cross-border payments. In light of these shortcomings in the country’s existing payment system, BCH has identified the creation of a retail CBDC as the most viable solution. This approach resonates with the viewpoint of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), asserting that central bank money forms a solid foundation for the evolution of the monetary system.
As part of the CBDC’s design process, BCH is also proposing amendments to the Monetary and Central Bank laws. These regulatory changes will establish the legal framework required to authorize the issuance of the CBDC. The proposed changes will be shaped by feedback received during the public consultation phase, and the outcomes will undergo a comprehensive national debate.
Honduras Central Bank Maintains Stance On Bitcoin Despite Its Growing Adoption
While conducting an in-depth analysis of potential payment system upgrades, the BCH study delved into the realm of cryptocurrencies and compares them to CBDCs as potential modernization options. According to the findings, cryptocurrencies are not viewed as a viable solution due to their perceived lack of stability, accountability, and efficiency, coupled with high transaction costs and slow processing speeds. The Central Bank of Honduras reiterates its longstanding position against Bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrencies in general.
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However, the study acknowledges that certain aspects of cryptocurrency technology could be harnessed for financial innovation. This strategy resonates with global trends observed in numerous digital currency initiatives, which aim to leverage the strengths of cryptocurrencies while retaining centralized control. This approach diverges from the decentralized philosophy championed by Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin.
Notably, the growing adoption of Bitcoin within Honduras is evident through various initiatives, such as the acceptance of Bitcoin as legal tender in the private city of Próspera on Roatán Island and the establishment of Bitcoin Valley in Santa Lucía. In these areas, Bitcoin is embraced as a means of payment, independent of government oversight.
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