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加拿大央行:发行法定加密货币的潜在益处

上周,加拿大央行的Ben Fung和加拿大金融机构监督厅的Walter Engert联合发布了一份论文,讨论了央行发行加密货币的利弊。

在论文结尾处两位作者提出了这样的疑问:

“央行只向合格的金融机构提供储备金就够了吗?换句话说,“一个无现金社会”就是一个很好的结果吗?”

此外,这份论文还讨论了央行发行数字货币的6种不同好处,但只重点考察了三个方面:消费者支付、金融包容性和稳定性

对于消费者支付而言,作者认为央行发行的加密货币将推动目前那些被放弃的交易,因为这些类型的交易摩擦阻碍了交易的进行。其中,网上支付将受益最多,并且吸引小型商家通过互联网提供服务。在一些经济体中甚至还会出现降低零售支付成本的好处。

作者认为,金融包容性只会对发展中经济体带来真正的好处,还引用了几个其他现有的解决方案(例如非洲的M-PESA系统)。而在加拿大等发达经济体中,金融包容性并不会为央行加密货币的使用带来太大的动力。

最后,论文还列出了金融稳定性提高将带来的复杂结果。

一方面,加拿大和其他国家的金融系统通过高杠杆银行来获得流动性和期限转换,并且在支付系统的核心中运行。众所周知,在某些情况下,这种设置可能是不稳定的。情况严重时,内部货币存量收缩则会对经济产生不利的负面外部效应。数字货币可以给予消费者一种基本上无风险的存储价值的方式。另一方面,银行存储变成法定加密货币的便利性可能加速金融风暴。

Central banks might benefit from issuing cryptographic versions of fiat currencies, but the benefits would vary depending on whether they did so in an advanced or developing economy.

At least that's according to Ben Fung from the Central Bank of Canada and Walter Engert from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, both of whom published a paper this week discussing the pros and cons for central banks issuing cryptocurrencies.

Notably, the paper ends on the question of whether it's worth it for such institutions to offer cash or central bank digital currency (CBDC), should such demand drop deeply enough, though it ties the query to the idea this would need to come at the expense of cash use.

It reads:

"Is it sufficient for a central bank to supply only reserves to qualified financial institutions? Put differently, is a 'cashless society' a sound outcome?"

The paper goes on to explore six different supposed benefits to a central bank for issuing a digital currency, but largely dismisses all but three: payments for consumers, financial inclusion and stability.

For consumer payments, the authors write that a "CBDC would facilitate transactions that are currently foregone because of frictions that inhibit some types of transactions." In particular, it would reduce friction for online payments and entice smaller merchants to offer services over the internet. In some economies, they also see benefits in reducing costs for retail payments to consumers.

The authors argue that financial inclusion would only really benefit in developing economies, though it cites several other existing solutions around the world (such as Africa's M-PESA system) that seem to be closing the gaps just as well as digital currency could.

"Financial inclusion does not provide a compelling motivation for CBDC in most advanced economies, including Canada," they write.

Lastly, the paper gives mixed results for improved financial stability.

On the one hand, "the financial systems in Canada and other countries feature highly levered banks conducting liquidity and maturity transformation and operating at the core of the payment system," the authors write. "It is well known that under some conditions this set-up can be unstable, and in severe cases the stock of inside money can contract, with adverse negative externalities for the economy."

Digital money would give consumers a largely risk-free way to store value without exposure to that risk. On the other hand, the ease of leaving bank deposits for a fiat crypto could accelerate financial turmoil.

The paper represents the views of its writers and does not necessarily reflect that of the Central Bank of Canada.


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