The Reserve Bank of Australia, or RBA, announced strategic partnerships with Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, investment group Perpetual, and technology firm ConsenSys to research the potential of CBDC use, “for a wholesale CBDC in the Australian payments system.” While the financial institution stated that there were no substantial policy cases to be released in September, the RBA is still moving ahead with its CBDC project. The RBA is one of the names behind the New Payments Platform, which aims to remove physical currency from the Australian financial system. The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year and the report will be issued in 2021.
Why it matters: The RBA has been much slower to accept CBDC programs, and recently a senior RBA official was negative on CBDC development at the bank. Now that appears to have changed, which happens at a time when most of the world's largest central banks are looking for ways to develop CBDCs. Unlike the present system, a CBDC would be much easier to control. It is difficult to ignore the timing of the shift to CBDCs, as most central banks have created an incredible amount of new money this year, and they may have to continue with these extraordinary policies. It remains to be see how this crop of CBDCs will impact markets, and if they will be freely tradeable over the internet.