Brazil to launch CBDC ‘DREX’ in 2024 said to improve financial accessibility amid centralization concerns Liam ‘Akiba’ Wright · 4 hours ago · 2 min read
Examining potential risks and rewards in Brazil’s blockchain move with ‘DREX’.
Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate
The Central Bank of Brazil has unveiled its upcoming digital currency, ‘DREX.’ As reported in a live video from the Central Bank, DREX will be a digital representation of the Brazilian real, with the capacity to interact with other digital assets.
The video specified that “unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin,” DREX aims to facilitate access to financial services by reducing costs, potentially paving the way for innovative financial products like easier loans, investments, and insurance.
Harnessing the power of blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), DREX will facilitate peer-to-peer transactions without the need for an intermediary, leveraging smart contracts for the automatic execution of transactions.
The central bank believes this technological evolution could transform the financial landscape, transforming how transactions are conducted and fostering increased financial inclusion.
According to Reuters, DREX is projected for a 2024 launch, aiming primarily to enhance accessibility to financial services.
Questions raised by CBDC implementation
Yet, the interplay between digital currencies and government oversight raises several questions for critics and skeptics.
Firstly, despite assurances that the Central Bank will have access only to economic data, not individual transactions, skeptics may question the extent of government oversight. The inherent transparency of blockchain technology, touted for its decentralization, is somewhat at odds with a centrally controlled digital currency. Concerns could be raised about the potential for excessive government surveillance, data misuse, or lack of privacy.
Furthermore, while DREX maintains the existing relationship between banks and clients, with accessibility via bank deposits and accounts, questions arise as to whether this CBDC might unintentionally reinforce the existing banking power structures.
To many, cryptocurrencies aim to disrupt legacy financial power structures, not validate them. Hence, this approach toward the digital real might challenge the ideal of financial democratization.
Finally, an ongoing employee strikes at the Central Bank, as reported by Reuters, hint at possible disruption to the project’s timeline. This introduces another element of uncertainty for potential DREX users.
While the unveiling of DREX marks a significant step in Brazil’s financial digital transformation, it also opens a debate around the trust and transparency issues associated with CBDCs.
In related news, the Bank of Russia announced its CBDC on Aug. 3. The Digital Ruble, offering free transactions until 2025 to encourage national usage.