The emergence of cryptocurrencies and digital payment systems poses a number of fundamental questions to the social sciences. What, after all, is money and who should be allowed to issue it? On the one hand, competition from private digital currencies could spur innovation, improve the efficiency and speed of payments, increase financial inclusion, and at the very least jolt public actors into upgrading an old and creaky payment system. On the other hand, money is a public good and private competition could trigger momentous — and perhaps unwelcome — changes to the economic, social and political infrastructure. Even public options, such as Central Bank Digital Currencies, could profoundly reshape the financial system. Around the world, monetary institutions are watching these developments with anxiety, and calls for a coordinated response are growing.
Recorded on March 2, 2022, this panel discussion was presented by Social Science Matrix as part of the Matrix on Point series. The panel was co-sponsored by the Clausen Center for International Business and Policy. Moderated by Barry Eichengreen, the George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Chair and Distinguished Professor of Economics and Professor of Political Science at UC Berkeley, the panel features presentations by Markus K. Brunnermeier, Edwards S. Sanford Professor in the Economics Department at Princeton University and Director of Princeton’s Bendheim Center for Finance; Stefan Eich, Assistant Professor of Government at Georgetown University; and Christine Parlour, the Sylvan C. Coleman Chair of Finance and Accounting at Berkeley Haas.
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