Cryptocurrencies: Policy, economics and fairness

Publication Date
Systemic Risk Centre Discussion Papers DP 86
Publication Authors

Cryptocurrencies promise to replace fiat money with private money whose integrity is underpinned by algorithms, not government guarantees. While the technology is elegant, the success and failure of cryptocurrencies in the competition with fiat will not be determined by technology alone. What is more important is that any serious economic and social consequences be avoided. A cryptocurrency based monetary system would suffer from persistent deflation and higher systemic risk than existing fiat systems, and would exasperate inequality. If, however, cryptocurrencies cannot replace existing fiat money, their terminal value is zero.