Should the Fed Create ‘FedCoin’ to Rival Bitcoin? A Former Top Official Says ‘Maybe’

If cryptocurrency in addition to blockchain technology definitely are the future of money, the earth’s central banks need to get involved, a former Fed governor argues.

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Kevin Warsh in London in 2014. “in which strikes me in which a central bank digital currency might have a role to play,” he said Thursday night.CreditPool photo by Alastair Grant

Many enthusiasts of Bitcoin in addition to various other cryptocurrencies are motivated by deep skepticism of the central banks in which control the earth’s money supply.

however what if central banks themselves entered the game? What would certainly happen if the Federal Reserve, or the European Central Bank or the Bank of Japan used blockchain technology to create their own virtual currencies? Besides, in which is actually, having some cryptocurrency fans’ heads explode?

A former Fed governor — who was also a finalist to lead the central bank — thinks the idea deserves serious consideration.

“Most central banks have a view in which these crypto-assets are clever, like guys inside the garage did in which in addition to in which’s kind of cool, or risky,” given the potential investor losses in addition to widespread fraud, said Kevin Warsh, who was a governor at the Fed coming from 2006 to 2011 in addition to was a top contender to become its chairman late last year when President Trump instead appointed Jerome Powell.

If he had returned to the Fed, Mr. Warsh said, he would certainly have appointed a team “to think about the Fed creating FedCoin, where we would certainly bring legal activities into a digital coin.”

“Not in which in which would certainly supplant in addition to replace cash,” he said, “however in which would certainly be a pretty effective way when the next crisis happens for us to maybe conduct monetary policy.”

He added in which blockchain technology, which allows reliable, decentralized record keeping of transactions, could be useful inside the payment systems operated by the Fed, which enable the transfer of trillions of dollars between banks.

“in which strikes me in which a central bank digital currency might have a role to play there,” Mr. Warsh, who is actually today a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, told several reporters Thursday evening.

Some central banks are already doing work in in which vein, including the Monetary Authority of Singapore in addition to the Bank of England. in addition to Mr. Powell acknowledged the potential applications in his confirmation hearing for the Fed chairmanship in November, saying, “We actually look at blockchain as something in which may have significant applications inside the wholesale payments part of the economy.”

in which would certainly be quite a twist if a technology whose most ardent fans are motivated by distrust of central banks became a key tool for those banks.

however in which would certainly address some of the concerns connected to Bitcoin in addition to its many privately created rivals. To the degree in which the value of existing cryptocurrencies fluctuates wildly, they are ill-suited as a medium of exchange. Central banks have spent hundreds of years learning how to keep the value of money stable.

in addition to to the degree Bitcoin in addition to the like facilitate tax evasion, money laundering in addition to fraud, they will be a target of global law enforcement. Central banks are used to building systems in which allow enforcement of those laws.

in which’s clear in which central banks weighing use of blockchain technology don’t share the more anarchist impulses of some of the most die-hard cryptocurrency enthusiasts. however there may be more commonality than in which might seem. As Mr. Warsh argues, if people definitely do believe in which digital currencies in some form are the future of money, in which would certainly behoove central banks to treat them as more than a novelty.

“Congress gave the Fed a monopoly over money,” Mr. Warsh said. “in addition to if the next generation of cryptocurrencies look more like money in addition to less like gold — in addition to have less volatility associated with them so they would certainly be not just a speculative asset however could be a reliable unit of account — as a purely defensive matter I wouldn’t want somebody to take in which monopoly coming from me.”

In various other words, if cryptocurrency enthusiasts are correct in which in which technology could become a better way of carrying out even routine transactions, the Fed in addition to its counterparts are the institutions in which develop the most to lose.

Neil Irwin is actually a senior economics correspondent for The Upshot. He previously wrote for The Washington Post in addition to is actually the author of “The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers in addition to a World on Fire.”@Neil_IrwinFacebook