Report: 70% of Central Banks are Studying Digital Currencies

Approximately 70% of the banks surveyed by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) said they have already started working on a central bank digital currency (CBDC) or they are considering the development of their own virtual currency.

50% Of Banks Surveyed Have Moved To "Proof-of Concept" Stage

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is an institution owned by major central banks worldwide and it focuses on providing improved “international monetary and financial cooperation.” There were reportedly a total of 63 banks that participated in BIS’ survey and these institutions represented jurisdictions covering over 80% of the world’s population. The banks responding to the survey account for over 90% of the global economic output.

As mentioned in a report published by BIS, the financial institution’s survey involved conducting conceptual research on the process of creating CBDCs. Several banks worked cooperatively to develop a “common understanding of this new field of study.” Around half, or 50%, of the respondents have now moved to “hands-on” proof-of-concept activities to determine the feasibility and desirability of introducing a CBDC.

IMF Head: CBDCs Are "Safe" And "Cheap"

85% of the banks surveyed by BIS said it is unlikely that they’ll issue their own virtual currency in the short-term, or the next 1-3 years.

As CryptoGlobe reported in mid-November 2018, Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), had recommended that all financial insitutitions should consider launching their own digital currency. Lagarde believes blockchain-based currencies are “safe, cheap, and potentially semi-anonymous” and would help in “supplying money to the digital economy.

However, there are many other senior banking and traditional financial market professionals worldwide who think that both CBDCs and decentralized cryptocurrencies may not be beneficial to the world’s financial system. In September 2018, the European Central Bank (ECB) had clarified it was not planning to launch its own CBDC.

Uruguay And Sweden Have Reported Making Considerable Progress In Developing CBDC

As pointed out by the research group at the St. Louis Fed (in December 2018): 

Once you add a central bank and remove the “permissionless” network—with nodes that can leave and join as they wish, there isn’t much left to the cryptocurrency you started with.

Despite concerns regarding whether they’re appropriate for a centrally managed financial system, some central banks are still considering exploring the idea of a CBDC. The BIS report revealed that Uruguay’s central bank had been testing out a general purpose CBDC.

Notably, the BIS research report also mentioned that Uruguay and Sweden had made considerable progress in creating their own CBDC and they had also publicly shared most of their findings in order to help banks in other countries.

Mining Pool BTC.Top Briefly Controls Over 51% of Bitcoin Cash's Hashrate

BTC.Top, a popular cryptocurrency mining pool, has recently hit a high of 54% of Bitcoin Cash’s hashrate, before seeing it recede. According to some users the mining pool has just been going after profitability, although any pool having over 51% of the hashrate could be cause for concern.

According to data from Coin.Dance, BTC.Top managed to mine over 54% of the blocks on the Bitcoin Cash network for a brief period of time, before seeing its hashrate go down. At press time, data shows in the last 24-hour period it mined 47% of blocks on the network.

Having over 51% of a network’s hashrate is seen as negative by many, as it could allow the entity controlling the majority of, in this case Bitcoin Cash’s hashrate, to pull an attack on the blockchain and double-spend coins.

This essentially means every network participant is forced to trust the mining pool not to attack Bitcoin Cash. Notably, BTC.Top is believed to have recently thwarted an attack on the network that sought to steal coins someone sent to a Segregated Witness (SegWit) address on the Bitcoin blockchain.

As such, network participants seemingly trust the mining pool was only mining the most profitable cryptocurrency on the SHA-256 algorithm, and wasn’t trying to act maliciously. This, however, doesn’t mean it couldn’t.

Various cryptocurrencies have suffered 51% attacks in the crypto space’s short history, including Verge (XVG), Bitcoin Gold (BTG), and Ethereum Classic (ETC). ETC suffered one of the most notable attacks, as hackers compromised one of the most popular networks in the space to double-spend coins worth over $1.1 million.

While BTC.Top heavily mines Bitcoin Cash, it revealed back in November of last year, before the hard fork that created Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision (BSV) occurred, that it was apolitical and would support the blockchain with the most hahspower.

At the time Jiang Zhouer, the Chinese cryptocurrency mining pool’s founder, revealed BTC.Top’s goal was to recover stability for Bitcoin Cash, which at the time was engaged in a “war” between two sides.

On BSV’s side there are also concerns about a potential 51% attack. As covered, CoinGeek has reached the necessary hashrate to attack the network more than once, but hasn’t done anything malicious.