The top economist of the Bank of Japan (BoJ) has been appointed as head of department overseeing research on central bank digital currencies (CBDC), as the central bank steps its efforts to join the race to embrace financial innovation.
Kazushige Kamiyama will be heading the payments and settlement department of BOJ, which has conducted joint research with other central banks on state-backed digital currencies and looked into how the growing presence of cryptocurrencies affect central banking.
As the central bank’s top economist, Kamiyama has spearheaded efforts to use big data in analyzing the economy, an approach that helped Bank of Japan catch real-time changes affecting the country’s economy amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
BOJ also shared that Seisaky Kameda will be succeeding Kamiyama as its top economist and head of the statistics department.
This move comes at a time when BOJ is working on testing a digital yen. Earlier this month, the central bank released a report about the technical hurdles for CBDC, where it discussed checking the feasibility of such digital money from a technical perspective and considering whether or not to use blockchain for it.
The bank also set up a task force a couple of weeks back that was said to belong to the BOJ’s payment and settlement systems department. The new team is looking more closely into the CBDC by following up on BOJ’s efforts, including joint research it has been conducting with other major central banks since January.
Japan has been cautious about its digital currencies approach, given that it has the most cash-loving population in the world. But the fact that China is making steady progress towards issuing its digital yuan, having chosen the companies to test the CBDC, it has prompted not just BOJ but other central banks and governments to look into the idea of issuing CBDCs more closely.
BOJ has said although it has no immediate plans to issue its own digital currency, it has been conducting research on the issue with other central banks.