Valuing Safety and Privacy in Central Bank Digital Currency

Last registered on June 27, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Valuing Safety and Privacy in Central Bank Digital Currency
Initial registration date
May 25, 2023

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
June 06, 2023, 9:13 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
June 27, 2023, 1:28 AM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator

Reserve Bank of Australia

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Reserve Bank of Australia
PI Affiliation
Harvard University
PI Affiliation
Reserve Bank of Australia
PI Affiliation
Reserve Bank of Australia
PI Affiliation
University of New South Wales

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Central banks around the world are researching and piloting retail Central Bank digital Currency (CBDC), which is akin to a digital version of physical currency that is universally accessible to the public. To understand the merits of issuing retail CBDC, central banks need to understand the prospects for take-up by the public. With very high take-up, a CBDC risks impairing the local banking sector and the provision of credit. With very low take-up, a CBDC risks wasting the public resources used to create and manage the platform infrastructure.

In this paper we explore the prospects for CBDC take-up in an Australian setting, investigating two determinants:
- How much would Australians value having access to a digital form of money that represents a claim on the RBA, rather than a commercial bank?
- To what extent would design choices about privacy affect take-up?

Central bank representatives from several advanced economies have opined that most people in their jurisdictions do not appreciate the differences in safety between a claim on a central bank and a commercial one (Balz 2022, Brainard 2022). These views are consistent with the results of ECB focus group consultations (Kantar Public 2022) and surveys conducted in Austria (Abramova et al 2022). Central banks have also investigated privacy preferences, albeit with more mixed results. For example, people responding to CBDC consultation papers have generally expressed strong preferences for privacy (Bank of England 2021, European Central Bank 2021, RBNZ 2022). ECB focus group consultations, which use representative samples, reveal much weaker preferences (Kantar Public 2022). These investigations all use stated preference data because no advanced economy central banks have issued retail CBDCs from which to learn.

Our work has two distinguishing features from these earlier efforts. First, we focus on Australia, because findings from overseas do not necessarily apply here. For example, earlier work has shown that privacy preferences can differ markedly even across neighbouring countries (European Central Bank 2021). Second, we use the “discrete choice experiment” survey technique. This technique has been designed explicitly for the purpose of assessing public valuations of goods or services that do not have markets, and doing so in such a way that addresses common concerns with stated preferences analysis. We run our experiment in the 2022 Consumer Payments Survey, which
is a large, nationally representative survey of payments behaviour in Australia. As far as we are aware, we produce the first estimates of willingness to pay for CBDC attributes in the literature.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Fairweather, Zan et al. 2023. "Valuing Safety and Privacy in Central Bank Digital Currency." AEA RCT Registry. June 27.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Which account respondents chose in the discrete choice experiment.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
A discrete choice experiment conducted as part of the 2022 Consumer Payments Survey.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Random digit dialling to recruit sample, and random choice set assignment using survey software
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
999 survey respondents
Sample size: planned number of observations
999 survey respondents
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Roughly 30 treatment arms. 20 online survey treatment arms of around 50 individuals each, and 10 offline survey treatment arms of around 3-4 individuals each. Some of the offline and online arms had the same treatment. Each unique treatment arm was shown a different choice set of two bank accounts with different fees, safety and privacy attributes.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials