CEPR Discussion Paper 13065, July 2018. PDF. (Personal copy.) I offer a macroeconomic perspective on the “Reserves for All” (RFA) proposal to let the general public use electronic central bank money. After distinguishing RFA from cryptocurrencies and relating the proposal to discussions about narrow banking and the abolition of cash I propose an equivalence result according […]
finews.ch, April 9, 2018. PDF. Andreas Britt interviewed me. I describe the consequences of “Reserves for All” and point to potential benefits.
In the FT, Ralph Atkins reports that Romeo Lacher, Chairman of SIX group, supports the idea of Switzerland introducing an ‘E-Franc.’
In the NZZ, Peter Fischer reports that SNB president Thomas Jordan rejects the Vollgeld initiative and stops short of endorsing the ‘reserves for all’ proposal. … wehrt sich die Nationalbank auch gegen Vorschläge aus akademischen Kreisen, die von der Nationalbank fordern, nicht mehr nur Banken, sondern auch direkt den Schweizer Bürgern elektronisches Zentralbankgeld zur Verfügung […]
Neue Zürcher Zeitung, June 16, 2016. PDF, HTML. Ökonomenstimme, June 17, 2016. HTML. Vollgeld seems attractive because it decouples the supply of money from intermediation. By enabling everyone to use legal tender for electronic payments, electronic base money would satisfy a need. Vollgeld would prevent bank runs, at least partly; render deposit insurance unnecessary and reduce moral hazard; could help […]
John Cochrane argues in favor of a “New Structure for U. S. Federal Debt.” His main proposal is to introduce “[f]ixed-value, floating-rate debt” a form of “Treasury Electronic Money, or reserves for all.” See my NZZ article, Vox column, blog post.
ifo Schnelldienst 13/2015, July 16, 2015. PDF. Reprint of article published in the NZZ.
Neue Zürcher Zeitung, February 20, 2015. PDF, HTML. Ökonomenstimme, February 24, 2015. HTML. Allowing the general public to hold reserves at the central bank could help reduce the risk of bank runs and the negative consequences of deposit insurance. It would end the need to accept bank deposits as means of payment although they are not legal […]
On a new website, Aleksander Berentsen rejects the Swiss Vollgeld initiative. As an alternative, he suggests the Swiss National Bank should offer transaction accounts for everybody, in line with proposals I have made earlier (see here (2016), here (2015), here (2015)). In the Handelszeitung (here and here), Simon Schmid reports.
In jusletter.ch, Corinne Zellweger-Gutknecht argues that the legal status of central bank reserves is more equity- than debt-like—at least as far as the Swiss National Bank (SNB) is concerned. According to Zellweger-Gutknecht, reserves constitute debt only if the SNB is legally obliged to redeem them in exchange for central bank assets. If the SNB purchases dollars against Swiss Francs in an […]
VoxEU, January 21, 2015. HTML. New proposals to phase out cash are set to revive an old debate. Contributions to this debate focus on two related but independent issues: granting the general public access to central bank reserves; and phasing out cash. Abolishing cash is neither necessary nor sufficient. But allowing the public to hold reserves at the central […]
In the first and third of his Munich Lectures in Economics (and in an earlier oped in the FT), Kenneth Rogoff argued in favour of phasing out cash, at least high denominations and in some developed economies, see my post. Rogoff emphasised two beneficial consequences. First, the abolition of the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates and thus, the relaxation […]
In the FT, Martin Arnold reports about plans to launch “Saga,” a reserves-backed krypto currency, maybe the closest substitute yet to central bank digital currency. It is being launched by a Swiss foundation with an advisory board featuring Jacob Frenkel, … Myron Scholes, … and Dan Galai, co-creator of the Vix volatility index. The currency […]
An excellent conference organized by the Monetary Law Forum Switzerland focused on blockchain use cases from a central bank perspective. Program, links to slides. I discussed the macroeconomic perspective and argued for “reserves for all.” Some related links: Nivaura and Allen & Overy (backing Nivaura). OTC Swiss Blockchain, by Roman Bischoff.
In the NZZ, Jürg Müller reports about the developing regulatory framework for fintechs in Switzerland. A proposal by the federal finance department drew—reasonable—criticism by various lobbies and industry associations, including the CFA Society Switzerland. Die CFA Society Switzerland will das systemrelevante Bankensystem von anderen Finanzdienstleistern trennen. Dafür sei eine präzisere Bankendefinition nötig, als sie heute […]
The blockchain technology opens up new possibilities for financial market participants. It allows to get rid of middle men and thus, to save cost, speed up clearing and settlement (possibly lowering capital requirements), protect privacy, avoid operational risks and improve the bargaining position of customers. Internet based technologies have rendered it cheap to collect information […]
In a Federal Reserve Bank of New York staff report, Rodney Garratt, Antoine Martin, James McAndrews and Ed Nosal argue in favor of “Segregated Balance Accounts” (SBAs): SBAs are accounts that a bank or depository institution (DI) could establish at its Federal Reserve Bank using funds borrowed from a lender. … the funds deposited in an SBA would be fully segregated […]
A BIS report submitted by the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures and the Markets Committee discusses potential implications of the introduction of central bank digital currency for payments, monetary policy, and financial stability. From the executive summary … CBDC is potentially a new form of digital central bank money that can be distinguished from reserves […]
In a CEPR discussion paper, Cedric Tille argues that Switzerland’s international linkages have been transformed over the last decade. Abstract: Over the last decade, the economic linkages between Switzerland and the rest of the world have been transformed. First, merchanting and the chemical industry account for an increasing share of international trade, with chemicals exports […]
On the FT’s Alphaville blog, Matthew Klein reviews Swiss monetary policy over the last years and its effect on the real economy. He concludes that it seems the SNB’s relentless accumulation of foreign assets has been pointless — at best. More likely, the behaviour qualifies as predatory mercantilism at the expense of the rest of […]
On his blog, John Cochrane reports about a Hoover panel including him, Charles Plosser, and John Taylor. Cochrane focuses on the liability side. He favors a large quantity of (possibly interest bearing) reserves for financial stability reasons. Plosser focuses on the asset side and is worried about credit allocation by the Fed, for political economy […]
I was asked to play devil’s advocate in a debate about “secular stagnation.” Here we go: Alvin Hansen, the “American Keynes” predicted the end of US growth in the late 1930s—just before the economy started to boom because of America’s entry into WWII. Soon, nobody talked about “secular stagnation” any more. 75 years later, Larry […]
In the NZZ, Axel Lehmann offers his views on the prospects of blockchain technologies in banking. Lehmann is Group Chief Operating Officer of UBS Group AG. New possibilities: Higher efficiency; lower cost; more robustness and simpler processes; real-time clearing; no need for intermediaries; information exchange without risk of interference automated “smart contracts;” automated wealth management; […]
The Economist reports about initiatives by commercial and central banks that aim at adopting the blockchain technology. For commercial banks, distributed ledgers promise various advantages—but they also cause problems: Instead of having to keep track of their assets in separate databases, as financial firms do now, they can share just one. Trades can be settled almost instantly, […]
On his blog, Urs Birchler offers different perspectives on the question whether the Swiss National Bank (SNB) is obliged to pay out banks’ reserves in cash. One view: Reserves are legal tender. The SNB therefore is not obliged to exchange reserves against cash. Another view: According to the law, the SNB is required to provide sufficient cash. Moreover, reserves and cash […]