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.