Central bank digital currencies

Two-part series on how to leverage this technology to achieve your mission

What's inside

Central banks worldwide are investigating the potential of central bank digital currencies (CBDC) to support them in their mission of ensuring and protecting financial and monetary stability. Organizations need to understand the different technological requirements of a multi-functional digital currency that meets today’s monetary requirements and leverages advancements in data analytics and machine learning. To help, Amazon Web Services (AWS) experts authored this two-part series covering CBDC objectives, architectural considerations, technology options, and performance criteria. The series includes detailed references to help you access industry thought leadership and research on this topic in the next evolution of payments and money.

Part 1: CBDC: Objectives and architectural considerations

In the first part, “CBDC: Objectives and architectural considerations,” the authors provide an overview of potential objectives for implementing a CBDC and how those inform technical design. Part one also covers architectural considerations to meet these objectives, such as the pros and cons of direct and two-tier architectures; the benefits and pitfalls of account-based, token-based, and bearer of instrument approaches; enabling offline operability; clearing and settlement models; network architecture options; and the role of payment service providers (PSPs).


  •     Improving payment system resilience and competition
  •     Increasing financial inclusion
  •     Meeting future payment needs in a digital economy
  •     Improving cross-border payments
  •     Preventing unlawful activity

Part 2: CBDC: Technology options and performance criteria

Part two offers a more technical perspective. It includes a reference architecture designed to optimally store and process CBDC data with a detailed workflow on how this design would process and settle a transaction. Part two also discusses foundational technology options, such as whether to use a distributed ledger or a centralized database. It explores the technical detail on how a CBDC design can meet industry standard performance criteria in the following areas:

  •     Security
  •     Instant settlement and throughput
  •     Availability and resilience
  •     Scalability
  •     Interoperability, flexibility, and adaptability

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