The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is looking for developers that will join in the research, development, and design of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). A LinkedIn job listing for a “Senior Application Architect – Digital Currency” was posted up two days ago at the time of writing, with already more than 25 applicants interested in the application.
“Given the dollar’s important role, the Federal Reserve System seeks to further understand the cost and benefits of the potential technologies for central bank digital currencies,” the job posting states.
The San Francisco-based position of Senior Application Architect will play a critical role in the design and development of a US CBDC according to the job post. Other responsibilities include mentoring engineers, and developing roadmaps “balance tactical and strategic needs” related to the project. Experience is also required, as qualifications include working with digital payment systems, cryptocurrencies, and other CBDCs.
According to the posting, the team developing the CBDC has the “feel of a start-up”, and the Senior Application Architect Role has a salary range of between $134,900 and $215,400.
The US Federal Reserve System Careers website is currently seeking talent to increase its workforce in developing a CBDC at the San Francisco Fed. Other than a Senior Application Architect, the federal bank is also looking for a Lead Application Developer and a Senior Application Developer for digital currency.
The Lead Application Developer and the Senior Application Developer positions seek to “implement example systems related to a Central Bank Digital Currency”, paying $215,400 and $176,300, respectively.
Developing a CBDC means to create a digitised – or tokenized – version of a country’s official fiat currency. CBDCs are similar to stablecoins, as their value is pegged to a government-issued currency, like the US dollar. While stablecoins are managed by private companies, CBDCs are issued by central banks, like the Federal Reserve.
“I think there’s a predicate that, oh, [CBDCs are] a shiny new object,” said Federal Reserve Chief Innovation Officer Sunayna Tuteja in a September conference, where she mused if the US decided to take on CBDCs because of FOMO – fear of missing out.
“And we should be cautious of that because oftentimes this momentum that, ‘Oh my God, a central bank has to do something […] because we’re trying to chase a shiny object syndrome or because we’re doing it based on a thesis of FOMO,’ that never takes off.”
At the time, Tuteja said a US digital dollar is “very much in the research and interrogation phase,” but now, it seems that Fed is rather just at the start of development based on descriptions of the new job postings.
The global CBDC race
A few months back, the US Fed announced that it is interested in the development of a CBDC, having started a pilot of a digital dollar in New York, with cooperation with major banks in November, 2022. According to American think tank Atlantic Council, 114 countries making up over 95% of the global GDP are researching CBDCs.
As of writing, 17 countries, including Russia and China, are currently piloting a CBDC, and 33 in the stage of development, including the US. Last Friday, Japan announced that it will launch its CBDC program in April.
China, while still testing their digital yuan, already has an audience of 260 million users, and plans on expanding this year.
Now, 11 countries have fully launched a CBDC – alongside the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Nigeria, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank took on 8 countries to use a digital version of the Caribbean dollar (DCash) as legal tender.
Last June, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that CBDCs are “something we really need to explore as a country.” The Fed has been contemplating the development of a CBDC since 2017, which accumulated into November’s test where banks said they would work closely with New York’s Federal Reserve Bank on testing a digital currency platform.
The platform, called the Regulated Liability Network (RLN) is a proof-of-concept blockchain network that includes participants like Mastercard and Wells Fargo. However, the project only ran on simulation – using only simulated data where digital tokens represent customer deposits. Additionally, the project “is not intended to advance any specific policy outcome” on CDBCs, stated the team.