Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains— Their Importance in the Future

CIO Insights Reflectio, Christian Nolting and Markus Müller | Dec. 2017

AfterOn.com’s Rob Reid wrote:

You’d have to be living in some kind of a news blackout not to have heard chatter about cryptocurrencies recently. The granddaddy of ‘em all–BitCoin–has appreciated roughly 2000% over the past twelve months. This puts the total value of all BitCoin close $300B, making it more valuable than roughly 490 of the companies in the Fortune 500 – and far more valuable than any of the banks that were deemed too big to fail during the financial crisis.

So what in the world is going on here? As with all large markets, nobody fully knows. But my interviewee in this episode, Fred Ehrsam, knows this area better than almost anyone. In 2012, he co-founded CoinBase, which is by far the world’s largest consumer-friendly service for storing and trading cryptocurrencies (though its users include many large nonconsumers as well).

China: Conditions ‘Ripe’
China has made it clear: the central bank has full control over cryptocurrencies. With a research team set up in 2014 to develop digital fiat money, the People’s Bank of China believes “conditions are ripe” for it to embrace the technology. But it has cracked down on private digital issuers, banning exchange trading of bitcoin and others. While there’s no formal start date for introducing digital currencies, authorities say going digital could help improve payment efficiency and allow more accurate control of currencies.

Japan: Study Mode
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said in an October speech that the BOJ has no imminent plan to issue digital currencies, though it’s important to deepen knowledge about them. Kuroda said

AIssuing CBDC (central bank digital currency) to the general public is as if a central bank extends the access to its accounts to anyone. As such, discussion about CBDC revisits fundamental issues of central banking.