The Digital Dollar Foundation has teamed up with Accenture in a non-profit partnership to launch at least five pilot programs over the next 12 months to explore designs and uses of a United States Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) or digital dollar.

The Digital Dollar Project or DDP was created in January last year in partnership with Accenture to encourage research and public discussion on the potential advantages of a U.S. CBDC, a new form of money designed specifically for the digital world that complements the existing forms of physical and electronic monies.

The Project will develop a framework for potential, practical steps that can be taken to establish a dollar CBDC, which would represent a third format of currency that will be backed by the Federal Reserve as for paper currency.

The project co-founder Accenture, a Fortune 500 company, will provide the first phase funding for the pilots. Accenture said it will collaborate with the entire stakeholder community and DDP participants to learn from pilot programs across a range of use cases and share the outcomes and insights in an open and transparent manner.

The process to begin evaluating and prioritizing the five pilots is already underway, with the first three to be announced within the next two months.

The pilots will explore, analyze and identify technical and functional requirements, assess benefits and outstanding challenges, test applications and approaches as well as consider potential use cases for both retail and wholesale commercial utilization.

The Project’s efforts are intended to complement other important CBDC work being conducted, including by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The DDP intends to make its CBDC test ground transparent and accessible to all stakeholders, public and private, and serve as a neutral platform to explore the future of U.S. currency. It will release to the public the results of and insights from the pilots for use in academic study, as well as policy consideration by Congress.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is one of many central banks around the world considering the introduction of a digital currency. According to a recent survey, 80 percent of the world’s central banks are engaged in research or experimentation toward developing a CBDC, including the People’s Bank of China, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England.

Accenture is already working with several central banks for CBDCs, including the Bank of Canada, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, European Central Bank, and Sweden’s Riksbank.

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