Financial stability and privacy considerations are most significant to the design of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said Wednesday.

“Central banks are committed to minimizing the impact of CBDCs on financial intermediation and credit provision. This is very important for the wheels of the economy to run smoothly,” she said at an event by the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C.

Georgieva said the world is in the early days for CBDCs and it is not yet known how far and how fast they will go.

“What we know is that central banks are building capacity to harness new technologies—to be ready for what may lie ahead,” she told.

Stressing that unbacked crypto assets are inherently volatile, Georgieva said even the better managed and regulated stablecoins may not be a match against a stable and well-designed CBDC.

“If CBDCs are designed prudently, they can potentially offer more resilience, more safety, greater availability, and lower costs than private forms of digital money,” she said.

Georgieva noted that around 100 countries are exploring CBDCs at some level, as some central banks are researching and testing, a few of them have already been distributing to the public.

She, however, emphasized that there is no universal case for CBDCs because each economy is different.

“In some cases, a CBDC may be an important path to financial inclusion—for instance, where geography is an obstacle to physical banking. In others, a CBDC could provide an essential backup in the event that other payment instruments fail,” she said.

“So, central banks should tailor plans to their specific circumstances and needs,” she added.

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