The U.S. Has Some Catching Up to Do on Digital Dollars
Much of the recent policy debate over virtual currencies has been alarmist, with commentators going so far as to call for banning all cryptocurrencies or warning that U.S. efforts to develop digital dollars would wreck the banking system. The conversation around central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, illustrates the point.
Whereas cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are decentralized, CBDCs are issued and managed by a nation’s monetary authority. The idea has taken off around the world in recent years, largely in response to the rapid pace of digital innovation and to frictions within the existing financial system. Over 80 countries are in some stage of researching, developing or rolling out their own version of this novel monetary technology.
In the emerging digital “moneyverse,” CBDCs could empower governments to practice more monetary flexibility and directly…