The Race in CBDCs Continues Onward With South Africa and Indonesia Beginning Research

South Africa and Indonesia are the latest nations to begin their own research in the sector, joining an increasingly crowded field of entrants.

South Africa

South Africa has begun feasibility studies into the possibility of creating their own Central Bank Digital Currency.  The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) is leading the investigation into whether a cash-complimentary sovereign digital currency would be of benefit for the rainbow nation. 

At this stage the bank is keen to emphasize that such research in no way confirms that the bank will issue a digital rand in the future. The research is expected to come to a conclusion in 2022 and will focus on the issuance of a domestic CBDC for retail usage.


Governor Perry Warjiyo of Bank Indonesia (BI), the nation’s central bank, has confirmed that they are investigating whether a digital rupiah would be beneficial. Indonesia is placing significant focus on advancing the nation’s payment system, and a digital rupiah is seen as a potential route to doing so.

“BI plans in the future to issue a central bank digital currency, digital rupiah…as a legal digital payment instrument in Indonesia,” the governor told a recent news conference. He did so without confirming a timeline for the endeavour.

BI has still to make an official announcement to follow on from Warjiyo’s statement. It is likely that when such an announcement occurs that the bank will focus on monetary policy, payment systems, and testing the existing financial infrastructure of the nation for its readiness to a CBDC.


The number of nations engaged in CBDC research is only growing as the rest of the world plays catch up to China. With South Africa and Indonesia now taking the possibility of a central bank digital currency seriously, the race is only heating up. Although central bank research into CBDCs always comes with a disclaimer and no guarantee that it will indeed result in the launch of a digital currency, it seems highly likely that a great number of nations are now on course to join China and cross that finishing line, albeit at a great distance behind.

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