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全新的互联网金融模式区块链国际资讯监管与政策

央行数字货币是大势所趋?美联储称不考虑发行

用区块链发行数字法币已经不是什么新概念了——事实上,包括英国和中国在内的很多国家的金融管理机构都开始考虑其可行性。

至于如何将这一概念用在美国市场,美联储波士顿分部的财政和金融服务高级副总裁Jim Cunha在近日举办的Business of Blockchain大会(由《MIT科技评论》杂志和MIT媒体实验室联合主办)上指出,这项技术在银行业有更好的发展机会。

Cunha认为,虽然区块链技术能够提高效率,但仍有大量的技术和法律问题需要率先解决,“结尾”问题就是其中之一,他认为这是金融服务行业的“圣杯”。Cunha继续指出,电子转账是不能撤销的。美联储永远不可能撤回交易。银行就指望这一点了。这也是你在进行房屋抵押时,你的律师必须先等到银行回复说汇款已经到账。因为当他们签署契约时要证明房子是属于你的。

他用DAO硬分叉的例子说明了区块链去中心化的决定很可能给银行带来不少问题。试想一下,如果所有银行聚集在一起,然后说如果超过51%的人决定撤销一次汇款就撤销,这样会造成什么样的后果?

这位美联储官员还提到了另一些问题,包括区块链对货币信任和风险模式的影响。由于分布式账本通常会去除中间人,银行就必须采用一种完全不同的法律架构。

找出问题

Cunha认为,目前区块链炒作问题比较严重,区块链研究不只是寻找解决方案。首先,必须找出问题的症结所在。

他说:很多人都迫不及待地向前走,仅仅因为这是数字货币,是推动无纸化未来的大事件,因为纸张已经过时了。但我们要解决的问题到底是什么呢?

在他看来,“世界最大经济体系的货币供应”不是解决问题的开端。

反之,Cunha认为股票、衍生品、贸易协定等才是区块链的最佳应用领域,能够减少摩擦、降低成本。

没有发行‘FedCoin’的计划

Cunha还澄清了FedCoin(美联储币)的谣言。2015年,美联储圣路易斯分部某经济学家发表的论文中提到了这个假设性的数字法币。

但Cunha在本次大会上已经明确表示,美联储暂无计划发行FedCoin。

不过,MIT数字货币项目研究员Robleh Ali表示,不同的央行会做出不同的决策,他也曾是英国央行的一员。

Ali说,数字法币可以在银行系统之外进行发展,等到技术成熟之后就会被银行采纳,这种情况绝对是可以预见的。

他认为,最终数字法币会成为金融系统的基础,也许二三十年后这个话题就会成为热议方向。

The idea that blockchains could be used to launch a digital fiat currency isn't new – in fact, it's already been considered by monetary authorities in countries like England and China.

But as far as applying the concept to the US market, Jim Cunha, senior vice president of treasury and financial services at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, believes there are better opportunities for the technology in banking.

"I would not call the central bank's currency the low-hanging fruit here," Cunha said, addressing the audience at Business of Blockchain, a conference organized by MIT Technology Review and the MIT Media Lab, yesterday.

Cunha went on to say that while blockchain tech offers potential for efficiency, there are too many technical and legal problems to overcome first, one of those being how to deal with issues of finality, which he referred to as the "holy grail" of financial services.

Cunha told the audience:

"A wire transfer is irrevocable. The Fed would never, ever reverse it. Banks count on that. There is the reason why when you get a mortgage, your lawyer is waiting for the bank to say the wire transfer has been deposited. Because when they sign that piece of paper, which is the deed, that house is yours."

He pointed to The DAO hard fork as an example of how a blockchain's decentralized decision making could potentially pose a real issue for banks.

"Just imagine if all the banks got together and said if 51% of you decide to reverse a wire, then we’ll do it," he said.

Other issues to consider, the Fed official continued, were how a blockchain could impact the trust and risk models of a currency. Because a distributed ledger effectively eliminates the middle person, banks would have to consider a different legal structure.

"This is big, complicated stuff," he said.

Defining the problem

While a lot of hype surrounds blockchain, Cunha noted that it is not simply a matter of trying to address a solution. First, he said, you have to step back and define the problem.

He told CoinDesk:

"A lot people take a leap that, just because it is a digital currency, it is the next thing beyond paper, because paper is so passé. But what is the problem we are trying to solve?"

In his opinion, the "money supply of the biggest economy in the world" isn't the right place to start the process.

Instead, Cunha noted on stage, stocks, derivatives and trade agreements are better opportunities for applying blockchain to reduce friction and costs.

No plans for 'FedCoin'

Cunha also dismissed rumors of a 'FedCoin', a theoretical digital fiat currency that sprung out of a paper written by an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis in 2015.

"Right now, I can tell you categorically, there is no plan to issue a FedCoin at any specific date or time," he said.

But Robleh Ali, a research scientist at MIT's Digital Currency Initiative who formerly worked at the Bank of England, pointed out that different central banks do things differently.

It is perfectly conceivable, Ali said, that technology for a digital fiat currency could evolve outside of the banking system and later be adopted by banks after it had matured and proven itself.

"I think ultimately you will see digital fiat currencies as a foundation for a financial system," he said, concluding:

"You may be talking about a 20- or 30-year time horizon for that."


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