Generative Data Intelligence

According to the study, central banks would encounter novel obstacles in their pursuit of CBDC inclusion.

Date:

The potential exists, yet the challenges of attaining financial inclusivity are frequently underestimated, as indicated by a study conducted by the Bank of Canada. A commonly made argument in favor of the adoption of central bank digital currency (CBDC) is that it has the potential to enhance financial inclusion. However, the specifics of how to achieve this objective, or even what “financial inclusion” truly entails, remain largely unexplored, according to a discussion paper from the Bank of Canada. The paper concludes that central banks will confront a series of unfamiliar and nontraditional hurdles in the pursuit of an inclusive CBDC. By “identifying tangible barriers and shedding light on the underlying disparities that often go unnoticed in aggregate statistics,” the authors of the paper identify three dimensions of inclusivity crucial for a universally accessible payment method: financial inclusion, digital inclusion, and practical accessibility. Private financial institutions may lack the motivation to cater to the needs of the underserved. In this context, the authors assert: “Our analysis suggests that the number of individuals encountering barriers or exclusion is significantly larger than previously assumed.” Unless all three facets of accessibility are taken into consideration, individuals facing challenges in one aspect of inclusion may encounter similar disadvantages upon the introduction of a CBDC, as noted by the authors. For instance, members of the First Nations community typically reside at a much greater distance from financial institutions compared to other Canadians (25 km vs. 1.9 km), making their financial inclusion contingent upon digital accessibility. Cognitive load—the level of complexity associated with using digital financial technology—and other usability concerns constitute potential obstacles to accessibility that are expected to intensify with an aging population. Older individuals utilize smartphones less frequently than their younger counterparts, and fewer than 60% of the population possesses internet skills classified as proficient or advanced, according to a cited survey. Addressing this issue necessitates “in-depth research into designing for cognitive accessibility,” as emphasized by the authors. People with disabilities may also encounter greater challenges in utilizing the technology. Disabled individuals in Canada have notably less access to the internet compared to the rest of the population. The challenge lies in the delivery of services rather than in the inherent nature of CBDC itself, as indicated by the authors. Overcoming these challenges will demand that central banks address issues that may seem beyond their traditional purview. The study delves into the requirements of specific segments of the Canadian population. A previous study found that the majority of Canadians have little incentive to embrace a CBDC due to the high accessibility of financial services in the country.

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