Australia is accelerating its foray into digital currencies, announcing on Monday that by mid-2023 it will be on schedule to unveil its first central bank digital currency (CBDC), known as an 'eAUD'. Back in July, the country initiated a pilot of its first trial of a CBDC using a private version of Ethereum, working in close partnership with the Digital Finance Cooperative Research Center. Australia's central bank has now released a whitepaper in which it mentions that the country's CBDC pilot should be completed by mid-2023.
The aim is to "explore innovative use cases and business models" for CBDCs, the country's whitepaper said highlighting that technology research is not the goal.
The eAUD platform uses a permissioned version of Ethereum named Quorum, developed by Digital Finance CRC and operated by the central bank. However, the use cases which will interface with the eAUD platform can leverage blockchain networks, public or private, or conventional technologies.
Industry participants have been asked to submit any use case ideas for the eAUD, and "a limited number of these use cases will be selected for operation within the CBDC pilot project infrastructure."
Invitations will be required to participate in the trial, and only Australian-registered entities and Australian residents who pass KYC measures will be allowed to take part in the trial and hold eAUD.
"The project is seeking to facilitate ideation and innovation in use cases, and in turn use those results to better understand the case for introducing a CBDC in Australia," the whitepaper said, adding that it was expecting industry participants like financial institutions, fintech companies and established businesses to contribute to the research.
The whitepaper also highlights the fact that use cases have to be legally compliant and participants are expected to consult the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) on that regard. It was mentioned that some legal exemptions may be allowed purely for the pilot.
The selected use cases will be announced on December 31 prior to the CBDC pilot that is scheduled to run from January to April 2023.
The whitepaper also makes it known that the pilot doesn't mean the RBA will necessarily release a CBDC.
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