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Cryptocurrencies

Central bankers to forge ahead on digital currencies in April

Chiefs from Japan, Canada and Europe will meet and focus on cross-border transfers

Euros on display at a central bank. The European Central Bank is one of the institutions exploring the idea of issuing its own digital currency.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The heads of six central banks and the Bank for International Settlements in mid-April will hold their first meeting on developing their own digital currencies, which can serve as alternatives to Facebook's Libra or the digital yuan.

The central banks of the U.K., Switzerland, Sweden, Canada and Japan as well as the European Central Bank formed a working group with the BIS in January for joint research on central bank digital currencies.

The central bankers aim to create standards that will govern how digital currencies are used to make international payments between the banks. Security measures will be another key topic.

As this group researches digital currencies, "it's quite natural to consider how to make international transactions more convenient," Masazumi Wakatabe, deputy governor of the Bank of Japan, said on Feb. 5, an area that is currently notorious for high fees.

China leads research on central bank digital currencies, which have the potential to reshape the financial system, and the People's Bank of China plans its own digital yuan.

The BOJ currently has no plan to issue its own digital money.

Senior representatives of the banks, such as deputy governors and directors, along with working-level officials will prepare their findings before the leaders meet on the sidelines of an international conference in Washington. The group intends to issue an interim report in June and a final report in the autumn.

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