The digital currency revolution could eliminate commercial bank money altogether

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The emergence of blockchain has breathed new life into the ideas of economists Adam Smith, David Ricardo and Milton Freidman, and could potentially trigger a revolution in central banking, reads an article in the World Finance, 21st Dec 2016

The article mentions Positive Money:

Of course, electronic money is nothing new– in fact, the majority of money in our system exists in electronic form. However, a key difference between electronic money and a possible digital currency is the latter would allow people to transfer money to one another without the need for a commercial bank. People could have a digital wallet, of kind, and move money in a secure way without commercial banks acting as the middleman – much like ordinary cash.

This is a crucial difference, because commercial bank money and currency are different types of capital. World Finance spoke to David Clarke from Positive Money, an organisation campaigning for monetary reform that supports the idea of a central bank issued digital currency. Clarke explained how commercial bank money differs from cash:

“The money in your bank account is just an IOU from the bank, created from thin air when the bank issues a loan. It doesn’t correspond with any physical currency or commodity, and it’s technically the property of the bank.”

A central bank issued digital currency, on the other hand, would be an extension of cash – a direct claim on the central bank. It would, by definition, be fully protected from default.

Positive money argues such a scenario – in which central banks have control over money supply – could have far-reaching benefits, and be achieved through the means of a central bank digital currency. That said, Clarke explained they do not advocate implementing digital cash all at once:

“We think the starting point is for the Bank of England to introduce a certain amount of digital cash. It could offset this over time by reducing the amount of bank-created money by raising reserve ratios. Under the system we propose, decisions about how much money is created – and when it is created – will be a matter for the monetary policy committee.”

Read the whole article here.


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