Raphael Auer, Giulio Cornelli, Jon Frost, 28 October 2020

Central bank digital currencies are in the limelight. Yet the motives for issuance and, relatedly, the policy approaches and designs differ. This column surveys the drivers, policy approaches and technical designs, based on a comprehensive and publicly available database. It finds that all Central bank digital currency projects aim to complement cash rather than replace it. Many projects would allow for an important role of the private sector in the payment system.

Massimo Minesso Ferrari, Arnaud Mehl, Livio Stracca, 12 October 2020

The majority of central banks around the world are working on their own digital currency. This column argues that central bank digital currencies would not only have domestic macroeconomic and financial implications for the issuing economy, they would also have implications for the rest of the world. In particular, the unique characteristics of a central bank digital currency, if used internationally, would create a new ‘super charged’ uncovered interest parity condition which would induce stronger international linkages in a quantitatively relevant way. 

Ulrich Bindseil, Fabio Panetta, 05 October 2020

The prospect of central bank digital currency has raised concerns over its potential to cause structural (i.e. permanent) or cyclical (i.e. crisis-related, temporary) bank disintermediation. Moreover, negative interest rate policy is incompatible with the unconstrained supply of zero-remunerated central bank digital currency. This column argues that a two-tier remuneration system for the currency would be an efficient solution to these issues. It would allow households to access the digital currency as a means of payment with non-negative remuneration and would also make it possible to overcome the perceived dichotomy between ‘retail’ and ‘wholesale’ central bank digital currencies. 

Sarah Allen, Srđan Čapkun, Ittay Eyal, Giulia Fanti, Bryan Ford, James Grimmelmann, Ari Juels, Kari Kostiainen, Sarah Meiklejohn, Andrew Miller, Eswar Prasad, Karl Wüst, Fan Zhang, 04 September 2020

Many central banks are considering, and some are even piloting, central bank digital currency. This column provides an overview of important considerations for central bank digital currency design. While central banks already provide wholesale digital currency to financial institutions, a retail central bank digital currency would expand access to more users and provide opportunities for innovative central banking. The design must balance these benefits with the potential risks created by retail central bank digital currency deployment.  

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.

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.

Tobias Adrian, Tommaso Mancini-Griffoli, 09 September 2019

New entrants are vying to occupy the space once used by paper bills. This column, part of the VoxEU debate on the future of digital money, proposes a simple framework to make sense of who is attempting to pry our wallets open. It argues that the adoption of new digital means of payment could be rapid and bring significant benefits to customers and society, but that the risks must be tackled with innovative approaches and heightened collaboration across borders and sectors. One approach is for central banks to engage in a public–private partnership with fintech firms to provide a safe, liquid, and digital alternative to cash: synthetic central bank digital currency.

Markus K Brunnermeier, Dirk Niepelt, 20 March 2019

Both proponents and opponents of central bank digital currency have suggested that it would fundamentally change the macroeconomy. This column questions this paradigm, arguing that the introduction of such a currency need not alter the allocation nor the price system. Concerns about central bank digital currency choking investment, cutting into banks’ profits, or increasing the likelihood of bank runs are misplaced.

David Andolfatto, 17 March 2019

The idea of a central bank digital currency has prompted a mixed reaction among economists. This column uses a simple theoretical framework to investigate the impact of such a currency on a monopolistic banking sector. There are two main results. First, the introduction of an interest-bearing digital currency increases financial inclusion, diminishing the demand for physical cash. Second, while an interest-bearing digital currency reduces monopoly profit, it need not disintermediate banks in any way. A central bank digital currency may, in fact, lead to an expansion of bank deposits if the resulting competition compels banks to raise their deposit rates.

Tommaso Mancini-Griffoli, Maria Soledad Martinez Peria, Itai Agur, Anil Ari, John Kiff, Adina Popescu, Céline Rochon, Zoltan Jakab, 15 February 2019

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