In the past year, a number of central banks have stepped up work on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs – see map). For central banks, are CBDCs just a defensive reaction to private-sector innovations in money, or are they an opportunity for the monetary system? In this post, we consider several long-standing goals of central banks in their support and provision of retail payments, why and how central banks tackle these issues, and where CBDCs fit into the array of potential solutions.
Recent developments in payments technology raise important questions about the role of central banks either in providing a digital currency themselves or in supporting the development of digital currencies by private actors, as some authors of this post have discussed in a recent IMF blog post. In this post, we consider two ways a central bank could choose to become involved with digital currencies and discuss some implications of these potential choices.
The authors discuss a common distinction made between “token-based” and “account-based” digital currencies, noting that the distinction is problematic since Bitcoin and many other digital currencies satisfy both definitions.
Having witnessed the dramatic rise and fall in the value of cryptocurrencies over the past year, we wanted to learn more about what motivates people to participate in this market. To find out, we included a special set of questions in the May 2018 Survey of Consumer Expectations, a project of the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data. This blog post summarizes the results of that survey, shedding light on U.S. consumers’ depth of participation in cryptocurrencies and their motives for entering this new market.
“Cryptocurrency” hit the cultural mainstream in 2018. In March, Merriam-Webster added “cryptocurrency” to the dictionary, and in what was perhaps a greater litmus test of pop culture recognition, “bitcoin” was added to the official Scrabble dictionary in September. With such a surge in interest, it’s not too surprising that the most viewed post on Liberty Street Economics this past year focused on an issue surrounding how digital currencies operate that is not often put in the spotlight—trust. Similarly, as the subject of tariffs has become a more frequent topic of discussion in the news, readers have sought additional info, which fueled interest in another of our most viewed posts of the year. As 2019 approaches, we offer a chance to revisit these posts and the rest of our top five of 2018.