A central bank digital currency (CBDC) network could save the JPMorgans of the world over $100 billion a year in transaction costs when it comes to cross-border payments.
So says a report published Wednesday by consulting firm Oliver Wyman and megabank JPMorgan called “Unlocking $120 Billion Value in Payments.”
The report estimates that of the nearly $24 trillion in wholesale payments that move across borders each year, banks incur more than $120 billion in total transaction costs; this excludes potential hidden costs in trapped liquidity and delayed settlements.
“The case for CBDCs to address pain points in cross-border payments is very compelling,” said Oliver Wyman partner Jason Ekberg said in a statement. “The bulk of today’s wholesale cross-border payments process remains sub-optimal due to multiple intermediaries between the sending and receiving banks, often resulting in high transaction costs, long settlement times, and lack of transparency on the status of the payments.”
Conversations around CBDCs, driven by the march of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, can be about either retail issuance or the type of wholesale transactions this report is focused on.
There have been several wholesale banking initiatives in recent years led by private firms, commercial banks, and central banks, the report points out, but nothing like a full-scale, multiple central bank digital currency (mCBDC) network.
The report uses the ASEAN region and its corridors as an example, comprising Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, which operates across a diverse set of 10 currencies and contributes 7% of global cross-border trade.
JPMorgan and Oliver Wyman suggest a model for the ideal mCBDC that considers the process from minting and redeeming of CBDCs to FX conversion and settlement. The report also cites new opportunities for players in the correspondent banking world who might be disrupted by a full-scale CBDC rollout.
“The development of CBDCs brings new, tangible opportunities such as subscription-based mCBDC corridor access or smart contract-enabled cash management services,” said JPMorgan Global Head of Coin Systems Naveen Mallela.
Indeed, Mallela’s Onyx division was involved in one such trial connecting France and Singapore.