The economics of digital currencies

Quarterly Bulletin 2014 Q3
Published on 16 September 2014

By Robleh Ali of the Bank’s Financial Market Infrastructure Directorate, John Barrdear of the Bank’s Monetary Assessment and Strategy Division, and Roger Clews and James Southgate of the Bank’s Markets Directorate.

Although digital currencies could, in theory, serve as money for anybody with an internet-enabled device, at present they act as money only to a limited extent and only for relatively few people. The economics of the schemes as currently designed, both in terms of individuals’ incentives and at a macroeconomic level, pose significant challenges to their widespread adoption. Digital currencies do not currently pose a material risk to monetary or financial stability in the United Kingdom. The Bank continues to monitor developments in this area.

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