Enhancing Asean access to finance with digital banknote

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) form an integral part of Asean economies, but they have not been able to access sufficient financial resources to unlock their growth potential

The implementation of CBDC, by gradually substituting the national physical banknote and expanding digital payment systems, will allow unbanked populations in poor or remote regions to buy, sell, save and invest more easily than before. PHOTO: ST FILE
New: Gift this subscriber-only story to your friends and family

The possibility that Asean member states may adopt central bank digital currency (CBDC) raises hopes of improving firms' access to finance in the region.

CBDC is a national digital banknote issued and controlled by a country's central bank. It is different from cryptocurrencies, which are unregulated and decentralised. CBDCs can be used in the same way that national fiat currencies in circulation are used, except that they are entirely in digital form and allow individuals and businesses to hold CBDC accounts directly with the central banks. As at June this year, eight out of 10 Asean states - namely, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam - have conducted research on CBDC, launched pilot projects, or even started to introduce CBDCs.

Already a subscriber? 

Read the full story and more at $9.90/month

Get exclusive reports and insights with more than 500 subscriber-only articles every month

Unlock these benefits

  • All subscriber-only content on ST app and straitstimes.com

  • Easy access any time via ST app on 1 mobile device

  • E-paper with 2-week archive so you won't miss out on content that matters to you

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.