The trends and changes brought about by Covid-19 and the dramatic restrictions on our daily lives will persist, accelerate and create new challenges for 2021. Digitalisation has become all-important. It kept businesses, communications and work running throughout lockdowns. Organisations can and did adapt their operations quickly by embracing technology.
Yet, they must stay alert to new opportunities, innovations and business models. But with this come new concerns. Data protection and cybersecurity will need more attention as digitalisation, the use of mobile devices and amount of people working from home continue to increase. Digitalisation will even change the way people use money. The pandemic has exposed many of the social and economic barriers people face, as well as the need for a digital form of cash. Many people are not able to participate in today’s digital payment ecosystem. A universally accessible central bank digital currency would combine the speed and convenience of digital payments with the benefits of cash. Enabling digital payments for everyone, everywhere, should be the goal. There is, however, a lot of work associated with implementing CBDC and it will stretch beyond 2021.
Introducing and expanding CBDCs is not the only challenge we face this year. The pandemic underscored many others. The need to mitigate climate change and promote sustainability will shape 2021, prompting systemic and social change. We have the chance to shape our future. With what we have learned, we should strive to make it a better one rather than a return to the old normal.
Wolfram Seidemann is chief executive officer of G+D Currency Technology. This is an excerpt from the February edition of the DMI journal.