How Does CBDC Work: Explanation for Beginners

Learn how does CBDC work and its role in transforming the world of digital finance in our insightful article.

In the ever-evolving world of finance, one of the most significant recent developments is Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). While the concept of digital money isn’t new, the idea of a digital currency issued and controlled by a central bank raises several questions. The most fundamental among these questions is, “How does CBDC work?

Introduction to CBDC

A Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) is a new form of digital money. It represents a digital version of a country’s fiat currency and is regulated by the nation’s central bank. CBDCs aim to bring together the efficiency and security of digital currencies like Bitcoin with the regulated, reserved-backed money circulation of the traditional banking system.

So, How Does CBDC Work?

To understand how CBDC works, it’s crucial to note that it operates on a two-tier system involving the central bank and commercial banks or other financial institutions.

Central Bank Involvement

At the first level, the central bank issues the CBDC. It also maintains a ledger of all CBDC transactions, ensuring transparency and accountability. The central bank, being the regulatory authority, also sets the rules and regulations for the issuance and use of CBDC.

Commercial Banks’ Role

At the second level, commercial banks and other financial institutions distribute the CBDC to consumers. They carry out the necessary identity checks and verifications for CBDC transactions, ensuring the system’s integrity.

Distributed Ledger Technology and CBDCs

While not all CBDCs need to use blockchain technology, many potential implementations do. Blockchain is a type of distributed ledger technology (DLT), which can provide increased transparency, security, and efficiency. A CBDC using DLT would have its transactions recorded on a blockchain, making it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend.

CBDCs and Financial Inclusion

One of the major benefits of CBDCs is the potential for increased financial inclusion. By making it easier for people to access and use digital money, CBDCs could help bring financial services to unbanked or underbanked populations. In this way, the question of “how does CBDC work” also ties into “how can CBDC help.”

CBDCs Around The World

The Digital Yuan

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) is one of the leading central banks in the world actively developing and testing a CBDC. They have launched a digital version of the yuan, also known as the e-CNY. The e-CNY uses a two-tier system for issuance and distribution and is currently being tested in several major Chinese cities.

The e-Krona in Sweden

Sweden’s Riksbank is exploring the idea of an e-Krona, given the rapid decline in cash use in the country. The proposed e-Krona would have the same value as a physical krona and would use a DLT platform.

The Future of CBDCs

As we look towards the future, it’s clear that CBDCs have the potential to reshape the global financial landscape. By combining the benefits of digital currencies with the stability and trust of central bank regulation, CBDCs could provide a new, efficient way for people to make digital transactions.


Answering the question “how does CBDC work” involves understanding the role of central banks, commercial banks, and potentially blockchain technology in issuing, distributing, and regulating a new form of digital currency. As more central banks around the world explore CBDCs, understanding how they work will become increasingly important.

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