Facebook's proposal to create a new global currency and payment system--Libra--has provoked strong reactions. Rarely do President Trump, Chairman Jerome Powell of the Federal Reserve Board, and Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the chair of the US House Financial Services Committee, agree on anything, but all have expressed opposition or at least concern. Some bitcoin proponents view it as a betrayal of the promise of bitcoin, because of its centralized, permissioned-based structure, while others think the idea will be launched by someone, even if Facebook does not succeed. While the proposal faces many obstacles, it must be taken seriously because of Facebook's size and resources. The proposal has reportedly caused the Chinese government to speed up its plans to introduce a central bank digital currency (CBDC), which is expected to be launched in the near future. Many other governments are considering CBDCs, and some have already run pilot programs. There may be other private entities which try to launch currencies. Is this the future of money? Which of these initiatives are likely to succeed? What are the economic and political issues raised by these proposals? Can digital assets help us achieve greater financial inclusion, as Facebook and others have claimed? The study group will discuss these and related issues.
Speakers and Presenters
Tim Massad, M-RCBG Senior Fellow and former Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission