New Zealand Starts Digital Cash Consultation

  • New Zealand launched a consultation on its digital cash on Wednesday.
  • The country's central bank believes digital cash could support innovation.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand started a consultation on digital cash on Wednesday.

The consultation paper asked citizens in the country to respond on digital cash design, whether or not interest should be paid and if there should be holding limits. The central bank is considering a $2000 holding limit, which is similar to the digital Euro’s benchmark.

Central banks around the world have been exploring issuing their own digital currencies, otherwise known as central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), following the rise in popularity of crypto over the last couple of years.

New Zealand started consulting on the future of money and CBDCs in 2021 and said then that a digital currency could present an “opportunity." The 2024 consultation said that digital cash would give more choice when making payments, be easy to access and support innovation and take advantage of new innovation features like smart contracts.

“Digital cash could also boost competition in New Zealand’s payments landscape by supporting new types of money and payments services from the private sector,” the consultation paper said.

The digital cash would be distributed by the private sector, and New Zealanders get to choose which services they use.

New Zealand’s CBDC is undergoing a multi-stage and multi-year process, and the country has not decided to issue one yet, the consultation paper said. It would be denominated in New Zealand dollars, swappable 1:1 with physical cash, and would be available 24/7.

The consultation closes on July 26.