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分类:信息经济学外文杂志精读经济学外文杂志精读 2021-02-23 11:35

  本文选自The Economist 2021-02-20

  Anyone who bought bitcoin a year agomust feel vindicated—and rich. Theprice of the cryptocurrency crossed $50,000 for the first time on February 16th, a five-fold increase over the past year. Wall Street grandees including BlackRock, Bank of New York Mellon and Morgan Stanley are mulling holding some for clients. Last week Tesla, an electric-car maker, said it had bought $1.5bn-worth of bitcoin and would accept it as payment for its cars. Investors’ interest in bitcoin as an asset may be rising, but the inefficiencies and transaction costs associated with its use make it unlikely ever to be a viable currency. Here the action has been within central banks. As consumers have shifted away from using physical cash, and private companies—such as Facebook—have expressed an interest in launching their own tokens, many central banks have begun planning to issue their own digital currencies. The Bank for International Settlements, a club of central banks, last month said it expects one-fifth of the world’s population will have access to a central-bank digital currency (CBDC) by 2024.

  任何一年前购买比特币的人一定会觉得自己被证明是正确的——而且很富有。2月16日,这种加密货币的价格首次突破5万美元,比去年上涨了5倍。包括贝莱德(BlackRock)、纽约梅隆银行(Bank of New York Mellon)和摩根士丹利(Morgan Stanley)在内的华尔街要人正考虑为客户持有一些股票。上周,电动汽车制造商特斯拉(Tesla)表示,它购买了价值15亿美元的比特币,并将接受比特币作为购买汽车的付款。投资者对比特币作为一种资产的兴趣可能正在上升,但与比特币使用相关的低效率和交易成本使它不太可能成为一种可行的货币。在这方面,央行采取了行动。随着消费者不再使用实物现金,以及私人公司(如facebook)表示有兴趣推出自己的代币,许多央行已经开始计划发行自己的数字货币。上个月,由各国央行组成的国际清算银行(Bank for International Settlements)表示,预计到2024年,全球五分之一的人口将能够使用央行数字货币(CBDC)。

  China is the clear frontrunner. On February 17th it concluded the third big test of its digital currency, handing out 10m yuan ($1.5m) to 50,000 shoppers in Beijing. It has announced a joint venture with swift, an interbank-messaging system used for cross-border payments. Sweden, another champion, has extended its pilot project. The latest big central bank to get serious about a cbdc is the European Central Bank (ECB). Its public consultation, seeking views on the desirable features of CBCDs, concluded in January, garnering over 8,000 responses. Speaking to The Economist on February 10th, Christine Lagarde, its president, said she planned to seek approval from her colleagues to begin preparing for a digital euro. A decision is expected in April. Ms Lagarde hopes the currency will go live by 2025.

  中国显然是领跑者。2月17日,它完成了数字货币的第三次大测试,向北京的5万名购物者发放了1000万元(150万美元)的红包。它宣布与swift(用于跨境支付的银行间信息系统)成立合资企业。另一个冠军国家瑞典扩大了试点项目。欧洲央行(ECB)是最近开始认真考虑CBCD的大型央行。公众谘询于一月结束,就CBCD的可取特点征询意见,共收到超过8,000份回应。2月10日,IMF总裁克里斯蒂娜•拉加德(Christine Lagarde)在接受《经济学人》(The Economist)采访时表示,她计划征求同事们的同意,开始为数字欧元做准备。预计将在4月份做出决定。拉加德女士希望这种货币能在2025年问世。

  Much like other central banks, the ecb wants to offer consumers digital tender that is as safe as physical cash. Unlike bank deposits, a claim on central-bank reserves carries no credit risk. Digital-currency transactions could be settled instantly on the central bank’s ledger, rather than using the pipes of card networks and banks. Thatcould provide a back-up system in the event that outages or cyber-attacks cause private payment channels to fail. The bank also sees a digital currency as a potential tool to bolster the international role of the euro, which makes up just 20% of central-bank reserves globally, versus the dollar’s 60%. It could let foreigners settle cross-border transactions directly in central-bank money, which would be faster, cheaper and safer than directing them through a web of “correspondent” banks. That could make the digital euro attractive to businesses and investors.


  Its main draw may be to offer a level of privacy that neither America nor China can promise, says Dave Birch, a fintech expert. The former uses its financial system to enforce sanctions; the latter seeks control. But getting the design right will be tricky: the European Union still wants to be able to track cash that is being laundered or hidden to dodge taxes. One fix could be to let users open e-wallets only once they have been vetted by banks, but for the use of the digital currency itself to be unmonitored. A wildly successful digital euro could siphon deposits away from banks and threaten the availability of credit. Remedies being considered include capping the amount of currency users can hold or—as Fabio Panetta, a member of the ECB’s executive board, suggested on February 10th— charging penalties on use above a threshold. A digital EURO could also involve “huge legal reform”, says Huw van Steenis of ubs, a bank. “Settlement finality”—which governs when a payment completes and cannot be reversed—varies across the euro zone’s 19 countries, and would need to be harmonised. Launching a CBCDwill take more than token efforts.

  金融科技专家戴夫•伯奇(Dave Birch)表示,它的主要吸引力可能在于提供美国和中国都无法承诺的某种程度的隐私。前者利用其金融体系实施制裁;后者寻求控制。但是正确的设计将是棘手的:欧盟仍然希望能够追踪正在被洗黑钱或为了逃税而隐藏的现金。解决办法之一可能是让用户在经过银行审查后才打开电子钱包,但数字货币本身的使用不受监控。大获成功的数字欧元可能会吸走银行存款,威胁信贷的可用性。正在考虑的补救措施包括限制货币使用者可以持有的货币数量,或者——正如欧洲央行执行委员会成员法比奥•帕内塔在2月10日建议的——对使用超过阈值的货币收取罚款。瑞士联合银行的Huw van Steenis说,数字欧元还可能涉及“巨大的法律改革”。“结算最终期限”——规定付款何时完成且不可逆转——在欧元区的19个国家各不相同,需要进行协调。启动CBCD需要的不仅仅是令牌方面的努力。