Analisi Macro & Scenari

Bce vs bitcoin. Euro digitale: anonimo per retail, all’ingrosso solo tra Banche Centrali (divieto stablecoin private)

Come possono gli stati e le banche centrali proteggere l’esclusivo monopolio della gestione della politica monetaria e del cambio con l’avvento dei Big Tech ed il relativo rischio connesso alla “moneta privata” (Libra&co.) oltre a quella decentralizzata (bitcoin&crypto)? La Bce risponde chiaramente:

Guido Gennaccari

Di seguito i passaggi essenziali. “In a partially decentralised solution, or intermediated model, the responsibilities could be split between the central bank and supervised intermediaries. For example, the infrastructure operated by the central bank would typically be responsible for the issuance of digital euro and the provision of a consolidated view on the circulation of the digital euro. Supervised intermediaries could be in charge of executing transactions on behalf of their customers, act as settlement agents, provide custody services to end-users and operate a front-end task such as authentication. As regards the form a digital euro could take, the choice between an account-based solution and a bearer instrument comes down to an arbitrage between enhanced traceability, performance and efficiency on the one side and preservation of privacy and the possibility to conduct offline transactions on the other side. The account-based approach reproduces the current functioning and the organisation of electronic funds transfers. The use of accounts allows for high performances and uncomplicated monitoring of transactions but might be less innovative. With a bearer digital euro, the participant in a transaction that is at the receiving end would be formally responsible for the verification of the transfer of value, as in a cash payment. This would leave possibilities for offline payments in which no third party is involved. The use of a bearer instrument would have to be secured by sophisticated cryptographic tools in order to address the risks of falsification of transactions, double spending, and thefts of the instruments…The emergence of global stablecoins raises significant challenges for public policy objectives. There is a risk that BigTechs build private infrastructures bypassing the current monetary and payment architecture that rest on the equilibrium between central and commercial bank money. If adopted on a large scale, global stablecoins could destabilise monetary sovereignty, by spreading significantly the use of private money in the economic system. Without going into extreme scenarios, the perspective of a sort of relegation of banks to back office activities due to BigTechs engagement in various financial services and especially payments, could lead to a squeeze on domestic players margins, undermining their ability to innovate and maintain the infrastructures that are crucial to the smooth execution of payments and the resilience of the system. At the same time, an uncoordinated development of CBDCs meant as a response to private digital assets could disrupt the international monetary system. If they are developed on sole domestic considerations and lack interoperability, they could even further reinforce current inefficiencies in term of cross-border payments which are a breeding ground for initiatives such as Libra…The last five years have seen a growing interest in the possible issuance and use of certain digital assets – namely, virtual currencies, central bank digital currencies and, more recently, stablecoins – as settlement media for transactions processed through platforms operating on the basis of distributed ledger technologies. 2 What began in 2009 as a thought exercise has since evolved to bring a flurry of ideas and initiatives, from public and private actors alike, which could usher in lasting changes in the public’s perception of money and currency, and in the structures supporting the processing of money exchange. It is customary in discussions on the possible issuance, distribution and use of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) to distinguish between retail (or ‘general purpose’) CBDCs and wholesale (or ‘limited scope’) CBDCs. The term ‘retail CBDCs’ refers to electronic forms of central bank money, other than central bank reserves (see below), the primary purpose of which is to serve as settlement media for retail payment transactions. The term ‘wholesale CBDCs’ encompasses digital forms of fiat money that are only available to a restricted group of designated financial institutions (typically, the monetary policy counterparties of central banks and certain other non-bank entities eligible to open accounts with a central bank-operated real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system) and are destined for use in wholesale settlements (mostly settlement operations between the central bank and its counterparties, interbank payments and the settlement of securities transactions between financial institutions). One of the received wisdoms in the field of CBDCs is that, unlike in the case of retail variants, whose introduction would be revolutionary, the deployment of a wholesale CBDC would largely be ‘business as usual’. This perception is based mainly on three considerations. The first is the fact that central banks are no strangers to the issuance of digital liabilities; indeed, the majority of central bank liabilities are purely digital. The second is that, unlike a retail CBDC, which would be ‘accessible to all’, a wholesale CBDC would only be accessible to a narrow scope of users. Thus, whilst the former would represent a paradigm shift in terms of the ‘opening up’ of a central bank’s balance sheet to the general public and of the way in which its monetary policy is transmitted, the latter would, in most respects, resemble ‘central bank reserves’, which have been issued by central banks in electronic form for several decades and which are only accessible to central bank counterparties (mostly commercial banks) to the exclusion of households and firms. The third consideration is linked to the fact that, because of their narrower target user scope, wholesale variants of CBDCs would, by and large, co-exist with existing forms of legal tender money and its supporting infrastructures − the retail and wholesale payment systems. As a result, the purpose of their issuance would be limited to the achievement of certain efficiency gains, including mitigating settlement risks, reducing currency exchange risks (in the context of cross-border payments) and reducing or simplifying intermediation steps and processes. The above may also explain why central banks have traditionally expressed fewer concerns vis-à-vis wholesale compared with retail CBDCs , but also rather less of an interest in exploring them unlike retail CBDCs.”