E-barter versus fiat money: will central banks survive?

Working papers set out research in progress by our staff, with the aim of encouraging comments and debate.
Published on 22 August 2003

Working Paper no. 197
By F H Capie, Dimitrios P Tsomocos and Geoffrey E Wood

New technology in computing has led some to suggest that the ability to settle transactions electronically will develop to such an extent that money will disappear from use. Two versions of this belief exist. One maintains that there will be ‘e-money’, issued conceivably by many organisations, and that this will replace central bank money. The other, on which this paper focuses, suggests a further development – that the very concept of a medium of exchange may become redundant, as assets or goods can be exchanged directly for other assets or goods through use of computing. In this paper we argue that the information-economising properties that allowed money to develop will also allow it to survive, despite actual and hypothesised technical progress which reduces the cost of electronic barter.

PDFE-barter versus fiat money: will central banks survive?


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