Central Banking and Fintech - A Brave New World?

This was the headline of a speech given by the Head of the IMF Christine Lagarde at the Bank of England conference on 29 September 2017.

The full text of the speech is set out here, but the gist of it is

‘...For now, virtual currencies such as Bitcoin pose little or no challenge to the existing order of fiat currencies and central banks. Why? Because they are too volatile, too risky, too energy intensive, and because the underlying technologies are not yet scalable.

But many of these are technological challenges that could be addressed over time. Not so long ago, some experts argued that personal computers would never be adopted, and that tablets would only be used as expensive coffee trays. So I think it may not be wise to dismiss virtual currencies.’

‘...citizens may one day prefer virtual currencies, since they potentially offer the same cost and convenience as cash—no settlement risks, no clearing delays, no central registration, no intermediary to check accounts and identities..

‘I believe that we—as individuals and communities—have the capacity to shape a technological and economic future that works for all. We have a responsibility to make this work.’

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