Who will issue our money in the digital future?
Will governments, armed with central bank digital currencies, continue to monopolize monetary systems? Will private company currencies rule, either with stablecoins that track the value of pre-existing government units (e.g., tether), or with their own free-floating tokens? Or will decentralized currencies such as bitcoin end up as dominant? Or will they all compete against each other in a multi-currency future?
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Of course, these questions will not be anywhere near resolved next year. But the debate is likely to intensify, driven by various factors. China is rolling out its Digital Currency Electronic Payments (DCEP) project during the Winter Olympics in February. The U.S. is developing regulations (see the next theme) targeted at private issuers of stablecoins. And adoption of decentralized cryptocurrencies for payments continues to grow around the world, helped by the advance of scaling systems such as Bitcoin’s Lightning Network.