Cryptoassets as National Currency? A Step Too Far

New digital forms of money have the potential to provide cheaper and faster payments, enhance financial inclusion, improve resilience and competition among payment providers, and facilitate cross-border transfers.

But doing so is not straightforward. It requires significant investment as well as difficult policy choices, such as clarifying the role of the public and private sectors in providing and regulating digital forms of money.

Some countries may be tempted by a shortcut: adopting cryptoassets as national currencies. Many are indeed secure, easy to access, and cheap to transact. We believe, however, that in most cases risks and costs outweigh potential benefits.

Cryptoassets are privately issued tokens based on cryptographic techniques and denominated in their own unit of account. Their value can be extremely volatile. Bitcoin, for instance, reached a peak of $65,000 in April and crashed to less than half that value two months later.

And yet, Bitcoin lives on. For some, it is an opportunity to transact anonymously—for good or bad. For others, it is a means to diversify portfolios and hold a speculative asset that can bring riches but also significant losses.

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