Peru’s central bank joins global push to develop a digital currency

Julio Velarde, president of the Central Bank of Peru, speaks during an interview with Reuters at Central Bank headquarters in Lima
FILE PHOTO: Julio Velarde, president of the Central Bank of Peru, speaks during an interview with Reuters at Central Bank headquarters in Lima, Peru April 30, 2018. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

November 16, 2021

LIMA (Reuters) – Peru is joining the global push to develop a central bank digital currency (CBDC), central bank President Julio Velarde said on Tuesday, as policymakers worldwide seek to keep pace with fast-spreading cryptocurrencies.

Speaking at a conference with business leaders in Lima, Velarde said that Peru’s central bank is working with the central banks of India, Singapore and Hong Kong in developing a CBDC.

“We are not going to be the first, because we don’t have the resources to be first and face those risks,” Velarde said, “But we don’t want to fall behind. At least we are at the same level or perhaps even further ahead than similarly sized peers, although behind Mexico and Brazil.”

Neighboring Chile is also discussing the rollout of a CBDC in 2022.

A digital currency issued by the central bank would be different from other cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, because this currency would give a person or business a direct claim on the central bank, the same as with physical cash.

Regulators around the world are cracking down on digital coins, alarmed at a rapidly expanding market that has bypassed sovereign central banks and could undermine their control of global financial systems.

(Reporting by Maro Aquino; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)