Money in the digital age: what role for central banks?

This is the title of the speech by Agustín Carstens General Manager, Bank for International Settlements.

He has this amazing money flower ( I think have seen it elsewhere as well, not sure where):

Just sums up the different types of currencies really well.

The money flower highlights four key properties on the supply side of money: the issuer, the form, the degree of accessibility and the transfer mechanism.
• The issuer can be either the central bank or “other”. “Other” includes nobody, that is, a particular type of money that is not the liability of anyone.
• In terms of the form it takes, money is either electronic or physical.
• Accessibility refers to how widely the type of money is available. It can either be wide or limited.
• Transfer mechanism can either be a central intermediary or peer-to-peer, meaning transactions occur directly between the payer and the payee without the need for a central intermediary.

Let us look at where some common types of money fit into the flower, starting with cash (or bank notes) as we know it today. Cash is issued by the central bank, is not electronic, is available to everyone and is peer-to-peer. I do not need a trusted third party such as Jens to help me pay each of you 10 euros. 

Let us try another one: bank deposits. They are not the liability of the central bank, mostly electronic, and in most countries available to most people, but clearly not peer-to-peer. Transferring resources from a bank deposit requires the involvement of at least your own bank, perhaps the central bank and the recipient’s bank. Think here not only of commercial bank deposits but also bills, eg noninterest bearing (bearer) certificates, issued privately, as in the case of the Bank of Amsterdam mentioned earlier.

He disagrees that cryptocurrencies are of much value which is expected from BIS…


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