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Central Bank Digital Currency: Financial System Implications and Control

Ulrich Bindseil

International Journal of Political Economy, 2019, vol. 48, issue 4, 303-335

Abstract: IT progress and its application to the financial industry have inspired central banks and academics to reflect about the merits of central bank digital currencies (CBDC) accessible to the broad public. This paper first briefly recalls the advantages that have been associated with CBDC and reviews some relevant background from the history of the issuance of different forms of central bank money. It then discusses two key arguments against CBDC, namely (i) risk of structural disintermediation of banks and centralization of the credit allocation process within the central bank and (ii) risk of facilitation systemic runs on banks in crisis situations. The paper proposes as solution a two-tier remuneration of CBDC, as a tested and simple tool to control the quantity of CBDC both in normal and crisis times. It is, however, also acknowledged that controlling the quantity of CBDC is not necessarily sufficient to control its impact on the financial system. Finally, the paper compares the financial account implications of CBDC with the one of crypto assets, stable coins, and narrow bank digital money, noting the similarity and differences in terms of implications on the financial system. It is concluded that well-controlled CBDC seems feasible, without this implying that CBDC would not catalyze change in the financial system.

Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1080/08911916.2019.1693160

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