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Crypto: As many as 87 countries are exploring a central bank digital currency

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CoinDesk Global Macro Editor Emily Parker joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the latest trends in terms of cryptocurrency being adopted by government central banks.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, China has now released a pilot version of its digital Yuan wallet app for Android and iOS, as the country's central bank moves aggressively to develop its own digital currency. The PBOC though, certainly not the only central bank that's looking to roll out their CBDC.

Let's bring in Emily Parker, CoinDesk global macro editor and CoinDesk TV anchor. Emily, I just threw in a lot of acronyms in there. But we're talking about central bank digital currencies. And dozens of countries, I mean nearly 100, now working on this.

EMILY PARKER: Absolutely. So as you mentioned, China has grabbed a lot of the headlines for taking the lead in developing a central bank digital currency. But we're seeing more and more countries getting involved. So I think, according to the Atlantic Council, which has a very cool CBDC tracker, there are something like 87 countries that are developing, or exploring rather, exploring a central bank digital currency.

And the latest, we've learned, is Mexico, which has announced that they plan to issue a CBDC within the next two years. So Mexico is joining other countries in the region, such as Peru and Brazil, who are actively exploring this. So this is something that's going on all over the world.

And if we look at those 87 countries, again according to the Atlantic Council, that accounts for over 90% of global GDP, the countries that are exploring developing this central bank digital currency. So it's definitely, definitely not just China.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, although a lot of the attention has been on China, given kind of what's going to play out at the Olympics and kind of the buildup to unveiling that one. And of course, there's the big overhang and big question of whether or not anyone who's actually crypto-savvy is going to want to use any of these, or if they might beat out other stablecoins in terms of being the rails that we see used in terms of large institutions.

But when we look at maybe the other big story to watch in 2022, certainly a big one in '21, the rise of NFTs. And now in Korea, we're seeing it used politically, not just for the tech-savvy anymore. I mean, how big is that in terms of bringing on new entrants to the space?

EMILY PARKER: So CBDCs and the news item that you just mentioned are all part of a larger story, which is that cryptocurrencies in theory are supposed to be independent of governments. But what we're seeing now is just a lot of governments trying to get in on the action in some way, either by launching a central bank digital currency or, in the case of Korea, we have the ruling political party now saying that they will basically be giving NFTs in return for political donations.

And clearly what this is is it's a play for younger voters, voters in their 20s and 30s. But this is also an acknowledgment by the Korean government that crypto isn't going anywhere. And if they want to get traction with younger voters, they're going to have to play along.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, I mean, that's the biggest thing too. I think we had, of course, the president of El Salvador labeling Bitcoin, and I guess stances on crypto, a major theme to watch in 2022. Of course, we have the midterms coming up.

I tend to agree with that. I think that it's something that we've seen Republicans and Democrats really start to align on on different sides now, although some of them are conflicting. I mean, how important do you think it is going to be for maybe politicians back here in the US to also-- I don't know if it's important for them to really utilize NFTs to fundraise or whatnot. But how important is it to really start setting, I guess, their stances on these things ahead of those elections?

EMILY PARKER: Yeah, I mean, 2021 was the year that Washington really woke up to crypto. And we're just going to see that trend continuing into 2022. So we're going to see lawmakers in Washington.

What they're going to have to do is learn more about crypto and how crypto works because there are a lot of regulatory actions that are being suggested out there. They're going to have to understand what those are. Whether or not they're going to start issuing NFTs is another question. But I do think we're just going to at least see an attempt to be more educated about crypto in Washington, which I think is a good thing for the industry.

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