There has been strong acceleration in the interest among central banks and governments in Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) in recent years. This has occurred in parallel with the adoption of private stablecoins by various regulated (e.g. USDC, GUSD) and unregulated (e.g. UST, DAI) providers. These CBDCs will need to adhere to the same ‘fundamental market laws’ as all other platform businesses that serve a two-sided market. Central banks and governments can learn from other two-sided markets, especially on the importance of collaboration, ecosystems and governance in getting adoption.
In recent stablecoin initiatives, ecosystem building has been an important driver to achieve adoption by payers and payees. That goal is achieved by being present in as many as possible transaction moments, such as exchanges, lending and payment services. And the use of open standards and governance is an essential element here.
Meanwhile, in the platform and Big Tech world, we see that the network effects are key, and that all platforms seek to build ecosystems in which they facilitate direct interactions and transactions between various actors. One of the early strategic questions for CBDCs should therefore be whether they will be ‘the platform’ or whether the CBDC infrastructure will be ‘the network’ of platforms.
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