Tag Archives: Currency
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has provided some high-profile validation for a core premise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency. A blog post this week based on an earlier Fed research paper said that “bitcoin units have no intrinsic value” – but added that currencies “such as the U.S. dollar, the euro, and the Swiss france . . . have no intrinsic value either.”
The post, titled “Three Ways Bitcoin is Like Regular Currency,” doesn’t precisely endorse Bitcoin or cryptocurrency. In another recent report, the St. Louis Fed was critical of Bitcoin’s inefficiency. Cryptocurrency has also become rife with scams since its surge in value last year, and may constitute a global risk because it enables clandestine money laundering, capital flight, and tax evasion.
But the St. Louis Fed has provided a credible rebuttal to one of the most widespread and misguided criticisms of cryptocurrency: That, because it isn’t tied to a particular real-world commodity, it should have a monetary value of zero. As Fed researchers point out, since decoupling from the gold standard in the early 1970s, almost all global reserve currencies rely on nothing but trust to function as a media of value exchange.
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In the case of the dollar, that’s mostly trust in the U.S. government and economy. For Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it’s trust in computer code and, at least to some extent, developers.
Surprisingly, the Fed’s new statement also echoes one of the predominant arguments that cryptocurrency fans use to disparage government-backed currency – though in a rather roundabout way. The post argues in part that “there’s a limited supply” of both cash and Bitcoin. The libertarian boosters at the heart of the crytpocurrency movement have often argued that Bitcoin is better than government currency because central banks can devalue national currencies through inflation, while Bitcoin has a strictly fixed supply. Though the Fed’s post points out that it doesn’t actually print cash – in the sense of physical notes – it acknowledges its ability to expand the money supply.
TOKYO (Reuters) – The chief executive of Japan’s largest bank expects new business opportunities to appear as digital currencies allow collection of data on how people use their money.
While Japan’s big banks have distanced themselves from bitcoin and other existing digital currencies, they are trying to create their own to provide cheaper and easier means of payments and money transfers.
“We would be able to capture kinds of financial behavior that cannot be collected as data in cash transactions,” said Nobuyuki Hirano, CEO of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), speaking as chairman of the Japanese Bankers Association at a news conference on Thursday.
“We can use the data to create new value.”
Hirano’s bank is developing its own “MUFG Coin” digital currency using the blockchain technology behind bitcoin.
The bank has been conducting experiments with MUFG Coin among its employees, including using the currency to split restaurant bills with each other over their smartphones.
Unlike bitcoin and other so-called cryptocurrencies, MUFG Coin is tied to Japanese yen, so users can exchange it for yen at the same rate as they bought the digital currency.
MUFG has said it plans to expand the experiment to involve all of its 30,000 domestic employees next year.
Japan’s third-largest lender Mizuho Financial Group is also developing its own digital currency, J Coin, targeting widespread use by 2020.
Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by David Goodman