A fiscally conservative research group expresses scepticism over using central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and questions if they can potentially have unexpected effects.
The Club for Growth raises doubts about many of the most prominent arguments in support of central banks launching a government-backed cryptocurrency in a new policy brief.
CBDCs’ potential to assist the unbanked without undermining private commercial banks’ services is questionable.
It is debatable whether or not such a zero lower limit on nominal interest rates represents a fundamental restriction on monetary policy or whether or not such a feature is desirable, but this is what is meant by “improvements” in monetary policy.
The research notes that the possibility of CBDCs completely replacing cash would deprive individuals of their right to privacy during ordinary transactions.
“The probable abolition of physical cash would unquestionably leave individuals worse off compared to the present quo, and it is part of a larger privacy concern generated by CBDCs.”
Regarding CBDCs being marketed as a solution for poor payment processing rates, the Club for Growth states that “there is no way a CBDC presents a clear, better alternative” to privately developed centralised ledgers like dollar-pegged stablecoins and Bitcoin (BTC).
The report closes by noting that, despite the fact that the present financial system has a number of issues, central bank digital currencies are unlikely to provide consumers with the greatest variety of choices.
“Proponents say that CBDCs would give major advantages in the form of broader financial inclusion, quicker payment processing, better monetary policy flexibility, and reductions in tax evasion and unlawful activities using physical cash.”