A 2023 report, published as the result of an interdisciplinary collaboration between the MIT Digital Currency Initiative and Maiden Labs, has arguesd that “digital currency is only as good for inclusion as the intermediaries through which people use it.”

The report, “CBDC: Expanding Financial Inclusion or Deepening the Divide,” which was funded by the Gates Foundation, tackles the reasons why a CBDC that simply replicates the features of existing digital payment systems fails to make a meaningful difference for financial inclusion.

According to the Mit Digital Currency Initiative website the report focuses uniquely on users, especially society’s most vulnerable.

Its findings are drawn from three main areas: design research to identify the important open technical design choices and ways forward for CBDC; infrastructure research on existing money technologies; and fieldwork to understand the financial experiences of people in four low- and middle-income countries (India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Mexico).

The report has been produced for those wishing to understand how to “design a digital currency that expands financial inclusion and operates in the public interest, rather than one that exacerbates or even creates a new digital divide for currency.”