The global discussion around digital currencies has been going strong. Over the past few months we have seen China’s central bank launch a digital yuan across four cities as part of a pilot program, marking a milestone on the path toward the first electronic payment system by a major central bank and Visa file an application for a first of its kind digital ‘fiat’ currency patent.
Arguably the shift has gained some momentum from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. During discussions in March on how the US government could deliver coronavirus relief payments directly to Americans, proposals were put forward for the development of digital dollar wallets managed by the Federal Reserve Bank to facilitate cash distribution to citizens and businesses. The speed at which digital currencies can be transferred could enable governments around the world to provide liquidity to vulnerable groups much faster than traditional money could potentially widen the policy options available for monetary authorities in times of crisis.
The purpose of the panel will be to discuss the significance of ongoing developments in this space and look at the following questions:
• Why are central banks around the world looking at developing their own digital currencies?
• What will this mean for consumers, businesses, governments?