Bitcoin economic impact
The argument is that central bank money printing will lead to inflation or the decrease in the value of money over time. Bitcoin, by contrast, has a fixed limit of 21 million coins that can ever be created. This limited supply allows bitcoin to resist inflation. The COVID pandemic presented the ideal conditions to test this theory once countries across the world began injecting trillions of dollars into their economies. Many countries, including the U.
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- The environmental cost of cryptocurrency mines
- The Economic Impact of Digital Fiat Currency (DFC): Opportunities and Challenges
- IMPACT OF CRYPTOCURRENCIES ON THE ECONOMY
- How will cryptocurrencies impact national currencies? - a $120 billion question
- How Will Cryptocurrency Change The Existing Global Economic Order?
- EY tips crypto economy to hit $68b, create 200K jobs
- Bitcoin complies with classical economic laws
The environmental cost of cryptocurrency mines
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And he talks about how regulators are responding to their rapid growth. When something in the financial system is growing very fast, and growing in largely unregulated space, financial stability authorities have to sit up and take notice. They have to think very carefully about what could happen and whether they, or other regulatory authorities, need to act. At the same time, they need to be careful not to over-react — particularly when faced with the unfamiliar.
Innovation, technology and new players can tackle longstanding frictions and inefficiencies and reduce barriers to entry. Throughout history, they have been key to driving improvement and to increasing resilience in financial services.
I will give you my conclusions at the outset. Crypto technologies offer a prospect of radical improvements in financial services. However, while the financial stability risks are still limited, their current applications are now a financial stability concern for a number of reasons.
Cryptoassets are growing fast and there is rapid development of new applications for the technology. The bulk of these assets have no intrinsic value and are vulnerable to major price corrections.
The crypto world is beginning to connect to the traditional financial system and we are seeing the emergence of leveraged players. And, crucially, this is happening in largely unregulated space. Financial stability risks currently are relatively limited but they could grow very rapidly if, as I expect, this area continues to develop and expand at pace. How large those risks could grow will depend in no small part on the nature and on the speed of the response by regulatory and supervisory authorities.
I will explain today what lies behind these conclusions and what they imply. Crypto itself is the underlying technology — the application of cryptographic innovation to the recording and to the transfer of the ownership of assets, often on public networks open to all.
Crypto technology enables — though it does not require - recording and transfer to take place without the banks or custodians that have historically carried out this function. Within finance, the crypto label covers a multitude of different innovations in financial assets, markets and services.
From a financial stability and from a regulatory perspective, what matters is not the underlying technology but how it is used and for what purpose. In other words, we should not regulate technologies but rather the activities the technology is performing.
And in doing so, we need to ensure a consistent approach to risks, regardless of the technology used. I will not attempt a detailed taxonomy of all the crypto innovations in the financial sector - in all probability a few will have been added by the time I have finished speaking. But in order to discuss the most prominent risks, it is worth breaking them down into unbacked cryptoassets used primarily as speculative investments and backed cryptoassets intended for use as a means of payment.
I will also touch briefly on the recent development of decentralised crypto platforms and markets that are beginning to offer a broad range of financial services. They are essentially non-replicable strings of computer code that can be owned and transferred without intermediaries.
Bitcoin, of course, is the most prominent example, but there are now nearly eight thousand unbacked cryptoassets in existence. These have no intrinsic value — that is to say there are no assets or commodities behind them: the value of the cryptoasset is determined solely by the price a buyer is prepared to pay at any given moment. As a result, their value is highly volatile. For this reason, the main use of unbacked cryptoassets is for speculative investment. Some, like bitcoin, also have limited issuance and therefore claim to be a hedge against inflation.
Although originally also mooted as a means of payment, the volatility of their value makes unbacked cryptoassets generally unsuitable for making payments - except for criminal purposes footnote . Attitudes to unbacked cryptoassets, however, appear to be shifting — in the UK fewer holders now say they see them as a gamble and more see them as an alternative or complement to mainstream investment. Around half of existing holders say they will invest more footnote .
And while retail investment predominates in this market, there are signs of growing institutional investor interest, with these investors now thinking about whether to have crypto in their portfolio. More complex investment strategies are beginning to emerge, including crypto futures and other derivatives footnote . At the same time, core wholesale finance and financial market infrastructure firms are putting their toes in the water.
Several global banks are offering, or are planning to offer, digital asset custody services. Some international banks have started to, or are looking at, trading cryptoasset futures and non-deliverable forwards; and offering wealth management clients cryptoasset investments, following client demand.
Others have developed exchange platforms facilitating matched trades, or offer customers access to other crypto exchanges through their apps. Leading payment firms are also exploring ways of allowing people and businesses to use certain stablecoins for payments and for the settlement of transactions within their networks. There are well founded concerns around unbacked cryptoassets in relation to investor protection, market integrity and financial crime. I will return briefly to these later, as they can have financial stability implications, although they are not usually the concern of financial stability authorities.
A more direct issue from a financial stability perspective, given the unbacked and volatile nature of these assets, is the implications of a major price correction. Such major corrections have been relatively frequent in the short lifespan of unbacked cryptoassets. The forward looking question is what could result from such events, if these cryptoassets continue to grow at scale, if they continue to become more integrated into the traditional financial sector and if investment strategies continue to become more complex?
In thinking about this, we should be clear that investors losing money on speculative investments does not, in and of itself, constitute a financial stability problem, though it may well be a major concern for authorities responsible for investor protection.
It is a necessary feature of the financial system that investors who understand the risks of speculative investments can make losses, including large ones, as well as gains.
The responsibility of the financial stability authority is to ensure that the system is resilient so that price corrections — and consequent losses — can occur without knock on effects on the financial system as a whole and without damage to the real economy. In this instance, the losses for investors were material but there was no loss of financial stability.
In that case, the knock-on effects of a price collapse in a relatively small market was amplified and reverberated through an un-resilient financial system causing huge and persistent economic damage. Whether a major price correction is absorbed by the system, admittedly leaving some investors with very sore heads or whether it is amplified into a systemic impact depends on a number of key characteristics of how the asset is integrated into the financial system, especially interconnectedness and leverage.
It depends also on the resilience of the system at the time of the correction — the liquidity in the system under stress and the ability of core elements of the system to absorb any losses.
So a necessary thought experiment from a financial stability perspective is what would happen in the financial system if there was a massive collapse in the price of unbacked cryptoassets - at the extreme end, if the price fell to zero.
Such a collapse is certainly a plausible scenario, given the lack of intrinsic value and consequent price volatility, the probability of contagion between cryptoassets, the cyber and operational vulnerabilities, and of course, the power of herd behaviour. Indeed the stress test scenarios to which we and other authorities subject the banking system are if anything much further into the tail of the probability distribution.
The financial system is far more resilient today than it was in the recent past, following the reforms put in place in the post-crisis period. A massive collapse in cryptoasset prices, similar to what we have seen in tech stocks and sub-prime, is certainly a plausible scenario.
In such a price correction scenario, the first question that arises is the degree of interconnectedness between crypto and the conventional financial sector. The simplest form of connections are direct exposures, people or institutions holding cryptoassets for speculative purposes. As a large proportion of this activity is still being carried out outside the traditional financial sector, regulators have a limited line of sight into who is holding these assets.
It is clear, however, that there are a large number of retail investors in this space —FCA survey research estimates 2. However, the possible losses to retail investors, while raising, as I have said, investor protection concerns, is currently unlikely by itself to be large enough to be a financial stability risk.
The picture is less clear for financial institutions. It is useful to distinguish between institutional investors and banks. A recent report identified to specialist crypto hedge funds footnote . The investors behind these funds are typically high net worth individuals and family offices.
In many respects this is a similar story to that of retail investors, though we would expect more appetite to take leveraged positions in these sectors. I would note in passing that the recent Archegos episode is an illustration of the damage that can be done to bank balance sheets by speculative and non-transparent fund leverage. Banks on the other hand have, as yet, much more limited direct exposure to crypto with their activities largely consisting of agency services.
However, there is clearly a prospect for the degree of interconnectedness to rise in the near future. We are starting to see proposals not just for agency services like custody and trading platforms but also for balance sheet exposure including offering broker-dealer services.
In response to these developments, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision is consulting on the capital treatment for cryptoassets on bank balance sheets footnote .
Direct exposures provide an immediate channel by which losses could be transmitted from cryptoassets to the existing financial sector. However, there are also potential second round or indirect effects which can spread the impact into other asset classes.
For example, a severe fall in the value of cryptoassets could trigger margin calls on crypto positions forcing leveraged investors to find cash to meet them, leading to the sale of other assets and generating spillovers to other markets.
We saw last year, during the dash for cash, that this dynamic can put pressure on the amount of liquidity in the system. Similarly, there is the possibility of contagion. A large fall in crypto valuations could affect investor risk sentiment more broadly, causing investors to sell other assets that are judged to be risky and those perceived to have a similar investor base.
Interconnectedness creates the possibility that shocks are transmitted through the financial system. However, to gauge the possible impact of a price correction shock, we also need to look at the degree of leverage, given its amplification effect. We know that the possibility exists today for retail investors and institutions to take leveraged positions, through unregulated as well as regulated derivatives infrastructure - including leverage of up to times.
On the other hand, and similarly to the story for interconnectedness, there is evidence of rapid growth. All of this needs to be seen in the context of the lack of transparency that makes assessment of the risks more difficult and of some of the broader issues around cryptoassets and the platforms on which they trade. I have mentioned the justifiable and growing concerns around investor protection, law enforcement and market integrity.
These concerns — and the need for regulation to address them - have increasingly been highlighted, in particular by securities regulators footnote . I will not set them out here. Risks in these areas are not the direct responsibility of financial stability authorities and do not normally pose risks to the financial system as a whole.
But they can be a trigger for destabilising market corrections. And, as has been observed by the Financial Policy Committee of the Bank of England, at sufficient scale they can lead a damaging and general loss of confidence in the financial system footnote . Taking together the volatility of unbacked and largely unregulated cryptoassets, their nascent but fast-growing integration into the financial sector and the appearance on the scene of leveraged players, my conclusion is that while a severe price correction would not cause financial stability problems now, all else equal, the current trajectory implies that this may not be the case for very long.
As I noted earlier, the price volatility of unbacked cryptoassets makes them unsuitable for use as a settlement asset in payment systems. In order to facilitate payments in cryptoassets, a number of cryptoasset models have emerged that are denominated in fiat money and backed with a pool of assets.
The Economic Impact of Digital Fiat Currency (DFC): Opportunities and Challenges
Bitcoin has been all over the financial press throughout the past year or so, thanks to huge volatility an investment of USD into Bitcoin would have been worth over USD 6. Just in case the topic should come up during dinner conversations. But we do have a guy who knows a lot about it. According to Markus,. We also find out how Bitcoin uses something from the real, non-virtual world electricity and converts that into a digital, virtual form a cryptocurrency by requiring a lot of computing power to do a multitude of calculations or guesses to verify transactions. We then learn about:. Blockchain, also known as a distributed ledger, which is a way data may be organized and distributed over a network.
IMPACT OF CRYPTOCURRENCIES ON THE ECONOMY
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How will cryptocurrencies impact national currencies? - a $120 billion question
How Will Cryptocurrency Change The Existing Global Economic Order?
EY tips crypto economy to hit $68b, create 200K jobs
Cryptocurrencies are disruptive economic innovations that have the potential to revolutionise the current economic structure and change how banks and financial institutions operate. Bitcoin is the most popular form of cryptocurrency that enables digital transactions between two parties without the need for an intermediary. Every transaction is digitally recorded in blocks that act like ledgers and once a block is filled a new block is created. All blocks are connected to each other using hashtags and a linear chronological sequence of these blocks forms a blockchain. Thus, every trans-action is digitally recorded to keep security at a top-notch level. Though the transactions are record-ed, the information of the parties participating in the exchange is not revealed. The money can only be tracked when it is converted into cash.
Bitcoin complies with classical economic laws
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