Michael Casey: Money Is Undergoing a Global Reset

Published on by Coindesk | Published on

One could argue that if everyone were to acknowledge that money is a fiction, it would cease to function.

You're reading Money Reimagined, a weekly look at the technological, economic and social events and trends that are redefining our relationship with money and transforming the global financial system.

The imaginary nature of money is not a weakness, however; it's a strength.

Our money narrative was already gearing up for a new act, even before an omnipresent antagonist called COVID-19 was added to the cast of characters.

It's a diverse field, encompassing decentralized, standalone currencies such as bitcoin; decentralized, algorithmically managed "Stablecoins" such as dai; reserve-backed stablecoins built on open, permissionless blockchains such as Circle and Coinbase, Paxos and Tether; new, privately defined stablecoins built on permissioned blockchains such as Facebook's Libra; and, last but not least, central bank digital currencies such as China's Digital Currency Electronic Payment system.

Who would've thought, even as recently as February, that a digital dollar proposal would make its way into a March congressional bill as lawmakers grappled with how to get relief money directly and quickly into Americans' hands? Meanwhile, fears over virus contagion appear to have accelerated the case for cashlessness as warnings rise over "Germy money" and countries go so far as to burn or disinfect banknotes.

In August - notably, following digital currency announcements from Facebook's Libra and the People's Bank of China - he said CBDCs would be coming "Sooner than we think." At that time, the BIS formed its Innovation Hub and five months later named Benoît Cœuré, a former heavy hitter on the European Central Bank's executive board, as its leader.

David Birch, a prolific author on topics of money and identity, and a consultant and prominent speaker on the fintech circuit, has delivered a detailed, rich analysis of the global competition to define electronic money and what it means for our lives.

Outlining the convergence of cryptography, smartphone technology, identity authentication tools, and digital assets, The Currency Cold War is an indispensable guide to the future of money.

Money Reimagined is CoinDesk's big picture weekly newsletter.