Raphael Auer, 27 April 2020

The rise of stablecoins and asset-backed tokens could drive the development of financial markets via new forms of transparency and data credibility. This column uses the revised proposal for the Libra global stablecoin as an example to illustrate possibilities for supervisors to harness information in distributed ledger based-finance via ‘embedded supervision’. The aim is to increase the quality of data available to supervisors and to reduce administrative costs for firms. 

Barry Eichengreen, Ganesh Viswanath-Natraj, 25 April 2020

Earlier this month the Libra Association issued a new White Paper updating its paper of June 2019.  This column argues that while the authors of the paper now understand that to succeed, their project must address economic and political concerns, they have done nothing to address worries about currency substitution.  A new proposed capital buffer is underspecified.  A key market in Libra futures or forwards is missing, as is a Libra lender of last resort.

Dirk Niepelt, 03 February 2020

Central banks already issue digital money, but only to a select group of financial institutions. Central bank digital currency would extend this to households and firms. This column examines the proposal for such currency and assesses the opportunities and risks. It argues that while preparations for the launch of Libra have not proceeded according to plan, it has become clear that for central banks, maintaining the status quo is not an option.

Luciano Somoza, Tammaro Terracciano, 03 December 2019

Policymakers are concerned about the stability of private digital currencies and protecting the consumers who use them. This column, part of VoxEU debate on the future of digital money, proposes locking stablecoins into an ETF-like structure with restrictions on basket composition. Stablecoin providers would be functionally similar to ETF sponsors, and stablecoins would become a new vehicle for traditional fiat currencies. 

Pierpaolo Benigno, Linda Schilling, Harald Uhlig, 03 October 2019

The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, recently argued that more thought should be given to creating a global electronic currency. This column, part of the Vox debate on the future of digital money, looks at the challenges for the world economy of adopting a ‘world wide currency’, using a two-country world in which each country has its own national currency and national central bank, but where there is also a global currency in circulation. It suggests that Carney’s wish may be granted, but sooner than expected and in a different manner.  

Dirk Niepelt, 12 September 2019

Plans by Facebook and its partners to launch a global digital currency have the FinTech sphere buzzing with rumours, and regulators, central banks, and ‘old finance’ worried. This column, part of the Vox debate on the future of digital money, argues that while we may be witnessing a seismic shift in the monetary system, Libra’s role in that shift will be an indirect one. By taking the status quo option off the table, Libra or its next best replica will force monetary authorities and regulators to choose between central bank-managed digital currency and riskier private digital tokens.

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