CBDC User Research Collaborations


Shira Frank

Shira Frank

What will it take for decentralized networks to realize our vision of a radically improved financial system that protects user privacy and increases user agency? In addition to DCI’s focus on open source development and neutral research into the privacy, security, and scalability of decentralized networks, we also believe it will require a robust awareness of the people inside and outside the traditional financial system, their needs, and their perspectives on digital currency’s potential. 

That’s why we are collaborating with Maiden, a non-profit user-research lab, to surface user insights that can inform our work as technologists as well as contribute to the public policy dialogues surrounding digital currencies. We recently completed a US-based user-research study, addressing some of the riskiest and most-common assumptions about prospective digital currency users and use cases.


CBDC and Financial Inclusion 

Global 2022 study funded by Financial Services for the Poor at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Collaborators: MIT DCI, Maiden LabsUVA and IMTFI

Field studies: Indonesia, India, Mexico, and Nigeria

Research release: December 2022

Guiding questions:

  • What digital-currency technical and policy design choices are necessary for mitigating the risks of systemic harm to the poor? 
  • What needs could CBDC solve, if any, for the unbanked, underbanked, poor consumers, women, or other marginalized groups in low- and middle-income countries?

Collaborating closely with expert researchers in each country, our work seeks to answer these questions with a systematic mapping of the successes and failures in each country's payment system. Through this process, we hope not only to identify the unique and unifying pain points in today's payment systems among low and middle income countries, but also to explore where these pain points intersect with policy discussions on technical design features in central bank digital currencies.

For more information, please get in touch!