NewsBreak: Digital Currency Monetary Authority Debuts International CBDC

April 10th – 16th
190 Member States in IMF

The Digital Currency Monetary Authority has unveiled a digital coin designed to speed cross-border transactions.

Introduced Monday (April 10) at the spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund, the authority’s Universal Monetary Unit (UMU) is an international version of a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

UMU is “legally a money commodity, can transact in any legal tender settlement currency, and functions like a CBDC to enforce banking regulations and to protect the financial integrity of the international banking system,” the DCMA said in a news release.

Banks can attach SWIFT codes and bank accounts to a UMU digital currency wallet and transact “SWIFT-like cross-border payments over digital currency rails,” a reference to the SWIFT payment system, per the release.

This allows users to bypass “the correspondent banking system at best-priced wholesale FX rates and with instantaneous real-time settlement,” the release said.

The DCMA pointed in the release to comments from Tobias Adrian, financial counsellor at the IMF, who envisioned a “multilateral platform … that could improve cross-border payments — at the same time transforming foreign exchange transactions, risk sharing, and more generally, financial contracting.”

DCMA Executive Director Darrell Hubbard said in the release UMU is “the exact solution” to the vision the IMF has expressed.

The authority said UMU adopts “a global localization public monetary system architecture” and can be configured to meet “the central banking regulations of each participating jurisdiction.”

The launch comes amid a flurry debate about CBDCs in the U.S. Last month saw Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz propose bans on the use of the currency.

DeSantis, often mentioned as a possible 2024 presidential candidate, has proposed legislation that would bar the use of both federal and foreign CBDC as money and called on other states to add similar prohibitions to their uniform commercial codes.

Two days later, Cruz introduced a bill that would prohibit the Federal Reserve from developing a direct-to-consumer CBDC.

Speaking to PYMNTS earlier this month, Martin Hargreaves, chief product officer at Quant, acknowledged there are privacy concerns around CBDCs, especially in the U.S., where the currency is seen as a threat to financial markets.

However, Hargreaves dismissed such concerns, pointing to a conscious effort by regulators in the U.K. to make sure that the digital pound is on par with other payment systems.

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