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LONDON: The Bank for International Settlements has given its full backing to the development of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), saying they are needed to modernise finance and ensure ‘Big Tech’ does not take control of money.

Dubbed the central bank to the world’s central banks, the BIS, which is coordinating many of their discussions on digital currencies, set out recommendations on Wednesday on how a CBDC such as a digital dollar, euro, yen or yuan should look.

As part of its upcoming annual report it estimated that at least 56 central banks and monetary authorities, representing around a fifth of the world’s population, are now looking at digital currencies as commerce shifts online.

“The train has left the station,” said Benoit Coeure of the BIS, referring to the move towards central bank digital currencies and its support. “It is not that we are getting carried away, we are just looking around”.

The push comes as physical cash use falls globally and authorities look to fend off the threat to their money-printing powers from bitcoin and efforts from ‘Big Tech’ such as the Facebook-backed Diem, formerly Libra.

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