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Australia is investigating a digital currency, or e-dollar, but its benefits seem slight and the risks to privacy large

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We are used to thinking of money as notes and coins, the kind most of us hold in our wallets. But most money – in Australia it’s 96.3% – is digital, held by financial institutions and moved around via bank transfers, debit cards and credit cards.

Late last year Treasurer Josh Frydenberg promised to consult about introducing a third type of currency, a central bank digital currency, and asked the treasury to come up with a position by the end of 2022.

A central bank digital currency (CBDC) would be an “e-dollar”, each one worth $1 dollar, but able to be held digitally without being put into a bank – such as on computers or in digital wallets on phones.

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