Since December 2022, I have a new job as a “Chief CBDC Evangelist“ at Giesecke+Devrient. “CBDC” stands for Central Bank Digital Currency, a new kind of payment instrument that is poised to become the digital counterpart to cash. While many tech companies have evangelists, the title is still relatively new, and I get asked about the precise nature of my job frequently. To explain, my employer has published a brief interview with me on LinkedIn, that you can also read below.
Question: Lars, your job title “CBDC Evangelist” may not be self-explanatory at first glance. How would you describe your role?
Answer: My main task at G+D is to explain CBDC in general – and our CBDC solution Filia in particular – to banks, engineers and the interested public. I do this mainly in lectures, workshops and articles. But I also work closely with (potential) customers to understand their requirements so that we can adapt our product to their country’s needs.
Question: To what extent do country-specific requirements for a CBDC differ?
Answer: It is mainly the priorities that differ. While emerging economies are keen to promote financial inclusion through offline-enabled CBDCs, developed countries want to reduce friction and enable innovation in the already crowded retail payments space. But there are also commonalities: Many countries struggle with government social and disaster relief payments, and have high hopes for CBDCs to make them more efficient.
Question: Why should a central bank choose G+D Filia?
Answer: Filia meets many different requirements for a CBDC solution: The core layer that takes care of transaction validation is lightweight and fast. Moreover, financial institutions have full flexibility in managing users and wallets. They can provide programmable online wallets or offline-enabled payment devices. Best of all, the payment protocols are mathematically validated.