CBDCs and cyber-security: resilience considerations when developing digital money

A mock-up image of a digital security lock
DHS’s is likely to miss its goal of hitting 150 job offers by the end of the fiscal year. Image by pixabay.com
November 14, 2023

Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) are an increasingly prominent topic for government authorities worldwide.

CBDCs such as the Bahamas’ Sand Dollar and Nigeria’s eNaira are already live, while the US Federal Reserve, European Central Bank (ECB – for the eurozone) and Bank of England are all stepping up their explorations. In total, 68 per cent of central banks consider themselves ‘likely to’ or ‘might possibly’ issue a retail CBDC in the short or medium term, according to a Bank for International Settlements (BIS) paper (‘Gaining Momentum…) published in May 2022.

Among the most important considerations facing policymakers and CBDC developers is cyber-security – a topic that (alongside CBDCs themselves), is among the BIS Innovation Hub’s 2022 priorities and also among the 13 public policy principles for retail CBDCs published by the Group of Seven (G7) nations in 2021.

Specific projects focused on the cybersecurity aspects of CBDCs include ‘Project Sela’, which is being led by the BIS Innovation Hub’s Hong Kong centre and involves the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and Bank of Israel.

Cyber-threats are evolving all the time, with digital means providing both opportunities for criminals but also for authorities to monitor risks. A UK House of Lords economic affairs committee report, published in January 2022, concluded that a CBDC poses two main security risks: first, that individual accounts could be compromised through cyber-security weaknesses; and, second, that a centralised CBDC ledger could be a target for attack from ‘hostile state and non-state actors’. The report added that while no system design can guarantee absolute security, any CBDC system ‘will need to be adaptable to emerging security threats and technological change, including fast-developing quantum computing’.

This Global Government Fintech webinar will ask questions including:

  • How are the biggest cybersecurity threats facing CBDCs evolving?
  • How important are technology solutions and design choices to keeping CBDCs ‘safe’


Public servants can register here for free to attend this webinar


USA/Canada Eastern Time (EST): 09:30 – 10:45
Greenwich Mean Time (GMT): 14:30 – 15:45
Central European Time (CET): 15:30 – 16:45
Eastern European Time (EET): 16:30 – 17:45
Singapore Time (SGT): 22:30 – 23:45
Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST): 01:30 – 02:45