Navigating the future of finance

An ecosystem perspective on Central Bank Digital Currencies.

The emergence of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) marks a significant development on the global financial stage. According to a 2022 survey by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the proportion of central banks considering the adoption of a CBDC reached 93% in 2022. The Atlantic Council reports that as of October 2022, 11 countries, including The Bahamas, Jamaica, Nigeria, and eight Eastern Caribbean nations, have officially launched their CBDCs. Moreover, over a dozen countries, including major economies like China, South Korea, and Sweden, are in the pilot stages of their CBDC initiatives. The successful implementation and widespread adoption of CBDCs could potentially yield transformative societal impacts.

The problem

Despite the surging interest, there remains a need for greater clarity on how countries can genuinely benefit from CBDCs, what the primary risks and challenges are, and what a CBDC ecosystem would look like. Current literature on CBDCs has predominantly focused on microeconomic aspects such as operational architectures, the technologies that enable them, data protection, and macroeconomic impacts concerning financial stability and monetary policy. 


While these considerations are vital for the successful rollout and acceptance of CBDCs, a comprehensive approach is essential, especially since interoperability requires coordinated efforts among various stakeholders. This approach should encompass an ecosystem perspective that acknowledges the needs and interests of central banks, commercial banks, policymakers, infrastructure providers, entrepreneurs, and end-users.

Research aims

Our research aims to unravel the complexities of CBDCs by adopting an ecosystem-focused approach. By identifying the top use cases and understanding the major stakeholders' interests from this broader viewpoint, we intend to address existing ambiguities and inform the development and implementation processes. Our primary research questions are focused on exploring the following:

  • What are some of the key opportunities and challenges in the process of developing, implementing, and delivering outputs of CBDCs?
  • Who are the main players in the process? What are the main challenges in fostering collaboration among diverse ecosystem participants, and how can they be overcome?
  • What insights can be gained from the experiences of countries that have navigated the development and implementation of their CBDCs regarding ecosystem formation? Are these learnings applicable in offering guidance to peer countries with comparable or distinct institutional environments?  

Research team

This research project is conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford, including three from the Oxford Future of Finance and Technology Initiative (OFFTI) which explores various research areas related to fintech. 

Research details

Our research agenda is set to produce a suite of academic papers concentrated on the disciplines of strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurship. In addition, we intend to develop case studies, white papers, and presentations focused on the CBDC phenomenon. These materials are designed to enrich our comprehensive fintech courses tailored for professionals, offering them in-depth insights and practical knowledge in this burgeoning field.

The University of Oxford and Saïd Business School place great emphasis on the ethical dimensions of our research process and data collection. It is our commitment to ensure that all data collected during the course of this study will be anonymised for the confidentiality of participants' personal information. We will undertake all necessary measures to protect your privacy at every stage of the research. Participants have the right to withdraw from the study at any time, without the need to provide a reason, simply by informing us of their decision.