The digital economy, privacy, and CBDC

Toni Ahnert, Peter Hoffmann and Cyril Monnet in this ECB paper ask the question of privacy issues with rising digital economy and how CBDC can help:

We study a model of financial intermediation, payment choice, and privacy in the digital economy. Cash preserves anonymity but cannot be
used for more efficient online transactions. By contrast, bank deposits can be used online but do not preserve anonymity. Banks use the information contained in deposit flows to extract rents from merchants in need of financing. Payment tokens issued by digital platforms allow
merchants to hide from banks but enable platforms to stifle competition. An independent digital payment instrument (a CBDC) that
allows agents to share their payment data with selected parties can overcome all frictions and achieves the efficient allocation.

It is interesting to think of several scenarios around payments between players and types of transactions. Then see how cash, bank deposits and CBDC help in these transactions.

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