Digital Currencies and the Soul of Money

Agustín Carstens, General Manager of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), outlined his view on the plausible scenarios for the future of money at the Goethe University's Institute for Law and Finance (ILF) conference on "Data, Digitalization, the New Finance and Central Bank Digital Currencies: The Future of Banking and Money.

Carstens offered  three plausible scenarios for the future of money.

  • In the first, big tech stablecoins compete with national currencies and against each other too, fragmenting the monetary system.
  • The second relates to the elusive promise of crypto and decentralised finance, or "DeFi", which claims to offer a financial system free from powerful intermediaries, but may actually deliver something very different.
  • The third realises the vision of an open and global monetary and financial system that harnesses technology for the benefit of all.

Carstens urged development of the third vision noting the design of money has consequences that concern all of society: the integrity and stability of money and payments, market concentration, consumer rights and efficiency. Hence, he urged central bankers to work with other public authorities and private stakeholders to achieve this vision.  He urged innovation in a sound, sustainable way, harnessing the benefits of digital technology in a way that is consistent with our shared values. The goal of ensuring that the financial system builds on the existing governance of money, serves the public interest and works cooperatively with the private sector was of paramount importance.

A copy of the entire speech can be found here.

Bank of International Settlements