We should take a "two pronged approach" to deal with the "double track competition" pattern of international digital currency

Finance Sina blockchain 2022-04-03 05:28:01 阅读数:575

pronged approach deal double track

    Li Chongyang   National finance and Researcher, Center for global economic and financial research, development laboratory

Hu Zhihao   Deputy director of national finance and development laboratory

In recent years , With the development of digital economy , Superimposed COVID-19 external shocks , The process of currency digitization has accelerated significantly . Multinational monetary authorities launched the central bank's digital currency (CBDC) Theoretical research on 、 Concept prototype testing and pilot process ; meanwhile , The stable currency issued by the private sector represented by American technology giants is also gradually being incorporated into the formal regulatory framework . thus , The international currency competition in the era of digital economy has been divided CBDC Two tracks with stable currency , This uncertainty has brought new opportunities and challenges to our country , It needs to be dealt with properly .

In recent years , Under the joint action of various factors , The trend of currency digitization is becoming more and more significant . One side , The most important internal reason is the vigorous development of digital economy . Data becomes an important factor of production , More and more production activities rely on networks and digital tools , Personal and corporate assets are also naturally transformed into digital existence , And money as a manifestation of production relations , Its function will inevitably turn to digitization with the development of productivity . On the other hand , The impact of COVID-19 accelerated the process of digitalization and digitalization of money. . First , Out of concern about the spread of the virus , The public has further reduced the use of physical cash ; secondly , After the outbreak , The demand for e-commerce has increased significantly , Many economic activities have shifted online ; Third , Economic uncertainty leads to an increase in the demand for preventive funds of actors , The above-mentioned reasons together lead to a surge in demand for digital money .

In this context , All major economies in the world are actively entering the market , Intent to seize the opportunity of currency digitization . among , The public sector represented by the monetary authorities of various countries , In order to maintain monetary sovereignty and monetary unity , Choose more central bank digital currencies (central bank digital currency,CBDC) Research and development ; The private sector starts from the business Ecology 、 Take the payment network as the starting point , A stable currency scheme is proposed . thus , The international currency competition in the era of digital economy seems to be divided into CBDC Two tracks with stable currency .

After COVID-19 , The central banks of various countries are responsible for the digital currency of central banks (CBDC) Your attitude becomes more positive . According to statistics , By 2021 end of the year , There are already 3 individual CBDC The projects are in the Bahamas 、 Eastern Caribbean and Nigeria , Jamaica also plans to launch its own CBDC; Yes 28 Central banks have launched CBDC R & D pilot work , exceed 68 A central bank just CBDC The problem is being communicated to the public .

Among the world's major central banks , The digital RMB project of the people's Bank of China is still at the forefront .7 month 16 Japan , Issued by the people's Bank of China 《 White paper on R & D Progress of digital RMB in China 》, This paper expounds the basic position of the people's Bank of China on the research and development of digital RMB , It explains the research and development background of the digital RMB system 、 Definition and vision 、 Design framework and related policy considerations . In terms of pilot , By 2021 end of the year , The pilot scenario of digital RMB has exceeded 808.51 m , Accumulated opening of personal wallet 2.61 One hundred million , Transaction amount 875.65 One hundred million yuan .2022 Beginning of the year , Digital RMB ( Pilot version )App On the shelves of the major app stores , In a few days , Several mainstream app stores have downloaded more than 1000 Ten thousand times . With the continuous opening of the pilot , Technical design and system stability of digital RMB business 、 Product ease of use and scenario applicability will be continuously verified , The public's understanding and enthusiasm for digital RMB will also continue to increase .

Of major international economies CBDC R & D is also speeding up .2020 year , The Bank of England and the European Central Bank issued discussion papers on the digital pound and the digital Euro respectively , And continue to CBDC R & D expresses a positive attitude . The US side , As early as 2020 year 6 In the month of the COVID-19 stimulus package, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party put forward the two edition respectively. CBDC programme , But the two schemes are only short-lived , Has not been adopted and valued . then , Although the Federal Reserve actively cooperates with its “ ally ” Carry out international cooperation , But it's right CBDC Still little interest , Even then fed vice chairman quells publicly said , The United States promotes CBDC Far from bringing tangible benefits , There are even views that may bring more risks . However 2021 end of the year , With Powell's re-election , Lyle · Brainard (Lael Brainard) Has been nominated as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve . The latter is a CBDC supporters , Think the Fed should speed up CBDC Research , Can't work with other countries CBDC Backward in competition . Maybe it's affected by the change of senior management , The Federal Reserve on 2022 year 1 The first digital dollar discussion paper was released in June , Yes CBDC Systematically elaborated and solicited the opinions of stakeholders . The document considers that , With appropriate privacy protection 、 Authenticate and federate with existing financial intermediaries , Issuing widely tradable digital dollars can well meet the needs of the United States ; Of course , Decide whether to issue CBDC The key consideration will be CBDC Whether the potential advantages outweigh the potential risks , And issue CBDC Is it better than other alternatives ( Such as private stable currency ).

Besides ,2021 year 9 month , The federal reserve 、 Bank of England 、 The Bank of Canada 、 The ECB 、 The Bank of Japan 、 The Swedish central bank 、 The Swiss central bank ( Hereinafter referred to as “ Seven central banks ”) union BIS Jointly released four articles CBDC The report , Contains a summary and a three part report . This is both 2020 year 10 month 《 Central bank digital currency : Basic principles and core features 》 since , G7 central banks and BIS The latest achievements of cooperation . The main report was published CBDC Recent advances in research , The report of the three members respectively expounds CBDC System design and interoperability 、 User demand and its impact on financial stability . Although the research and design of these four reports are still in the process of concepts and assumptions , However, the central banks of the seven countries continued to cooperate in R & D CBDC, It may make it have high interoperability and standard consistency , This will promote... For other countries, including the digital RMB CBDC Cross border payment brings some challenges .

In the near future ,CBDC The cross-border issue has attracted more and more attention from the monetary authorities of various countries , Relevant R & D progress is frequent .2021 year 9 month , Australia 、 Malaysia 、 Monetary authorities in Singapore and South Africa are in contact with BIS Innovation center cooperation “ Dunbar project ”(Project Dunbar) establish , Based on distributed technology (DLT) Development CBDC Cross border transaction prototype sharing platform .2022 year 1 month , from BIS Innovation Center 、 Swiss National Bank and Swiss financial infrastructure operator SIX Co sponsored Helvetia The second phase of the project is completed , Batch hairstyle successfully CBDC Introduce the core trading system of the central bank and commercial banks , Its application potential in end-to-end transaction is verified , Confirmed that based on DLT Feasibility of implementing monetary policy and realizing international transactions on the certificated asset platform . More striking is ,2021 year 9 month , The digital currency Research Institute of the people's Bank of China serves as the chairman of the Technical Subcommittee 、 And unite BIS Innovation Center 、 Hong Kong Special Administrative Region 、 The digital currency bridge project of multilateral central banks jointly developed by the monetary authorities of Thailand and the United Arab Emirates (mCBDC Bridge,mBridge) The interim report of the project and the prototype design of the second phase were released . The prototype can make 3 Central banks participate in a distributed network , Realization CBDC Distribution and recycling of 、 Monitor your country CBDC Transactions and balances , And realize liquidity management through programmable smart contract 、 Functional requirements such as privacy protection and regulatory compliance . Same year 11 month ,mBridge Publish use case manual , It shows the international trade settlement 、 Cross-border electricity 、 Cross border insurance 、 Supply chain finance, etc 15 A potential application scenario of currency bridge .

In recent years , Compare with CBDC, The US regulatory authorities have a more positive attitude towards stabilizing the currency .2018 year 9 month , The New York Financial Services Authority approved two private companies to comply with 1:1 Deposit US dollars into the escrow bank account , In order to issue a stable currency based on US dollars .2020 year 9 month , The office of the Comptroller of the currency (OCC) Allow federal chartered banks and federal savings institutions to legally hold us dollar stable currency as reserves .2021 year 1 month ,OCC Further allow federal chartered banks and federal savings institutions to act as the operation nodes of blockchain stable currency , And allow banks to issue their own stable currency .

2022 year 2 month , The House Financial Services Committee held a meeting entitled “ The future of digital assets and Finance : The president's financial markets working group (PWG) Report on the stabilization currency ” The hearing of , Under Secretary of the Treasury for domestic financial affairs Nellie Liang Attended the meeting as a witness , It introduces 2021 year 11 month PWG Written 《 Stable currency report 》. According to the report , Operational risk due to stable currency 、 Payment system risk and monopoly risk , Calling for legislation at the federal level as soon as possible , And adopt unified supervision over the stable currency , Specific proposals include limiting the issuer of stable currency to insured savings institutions (IDI), For the issuer of stable currency 、 Appropriate federal regulation of payment service providers such as wallet service agencies , Restrict the contact between the issuer of stable currency and commercial entities, etc . At the hearing ,Nellie Liang Also mentioned in 2021 year 11 Released on 《 Joint statement on the crypto asset policy sprint initiative and next steps 》, According to this document , The federal reserve 、 The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation 、 The OCC will 2022 Clarify the legitimacy of Bank of America's participation in activities related to encrypted assets during the year , And update the regulatory requirements according to relevant risks . These two documents issued almost simultaneously mean , In the coming year , The existence of the United States allows banking institutions to engage in, including the issuance and sale of encrypted assets ( Including stable currency ) Possibility of relevant activities including .

Overall speaking , In recent years , U.S. regulators continue to make efforts , It is intended to gradually bring crypto assets, including stable currency, into the formal regulatory framework . However, from 2021 year 5 In January, the financial stability and Development Commission of the State Council issued a notice to start , China's overall stance on encrypted assets has rapidly tightened , The application and innovation of domestic institutions in stabilizing currency are also relatively backward . From a game perspective , This choice of differentiation mainly comes from the consideration of one's own endowment . At present, the pilot of digital RMB has been promoted rapidly , Its two-tier operation mechanism 、 Replace cash in circulation (M0) And support “ Dual offline ” Payment and other characteristics , It has gradually become the preferred scheme of many international central banks , In China CBDC Has formed a certain leading edge on the track . If the United States decides to develop CBDC, It is equivalent to default to the digital currency route chosen by China , And put yourself in the position of imitator and latecomer , On the one hand, it may lose the standard setting power of the central bank in the field of digital currency , On the other hand, it also undermines the image of the United States as a consistent leader . Unlike China and the EU , The United States has many big technology companies with world influence (BigTech), therefore , He is likely to place his hopes on his powerful private institution , Open up another international currency competition track by anchoring the stable currency of the US dollar , And make sure that on this stable track , The United States can continue to be the absolute leader . thus , The global digital currency competition has been divided into CBDC And stable currency “ Dual track competition ” pattern . In the context of the game between China and the United States , A stable currency, if not the only option for the United States , It is also expected to become an important tool for it to maintain dollar hegemony in the digital age . therefore , It is necessary for us to comprehensively analyze the technical route and scene ecology of the two tracks , Study and judge the competitive relationship, advantages and disadvantages of the two modes .

In the short term , Stable currency track may have advantages in the early stage of laying . First , If digital currency is to succeed , Its domestic popularization and cross-border payment should complement each other . In terms of domestic popularization , All along, the academic circles 、 The industry and the monetary authorities of various countries have always been worried about CBDC May lead to “ Disintermediation ”, Therefore, there was a view that ,CBDC It should be popular enough but not dominant , Affect the deposit absorption and credit extension of financial intermediaries , namely “ It should be successful , But not too successful ”. In the field of cross-border payment , At present, the vast majority of countries CBDC Are in the R & D stage , It's too early for large-scale applications , Let alone cross-border payments ; And different CBDC The interoperability between systems is not only related to the economic and financial problems of the two countries , It's more a political issue . In contrast to Diem( Now sold ) The stable currency item represented by , Large technology companies are becoming better at network effects , And it has been rooted in the Internet since its birth , With a natural boundlessness , It can directly point to the global payment market . therefore , Once big technology companies lay stable currency on a large scale , It is possible to quickly solve the complexity of messages in traditional cross-border payment through its global business ecosystem 、 Long trading hours 、 High handling fees, pain points , So as to quickly occupy the market .

secondly , There are already signs that the issuance of stable coins is on the line . In the last six months , The guidelines of the regulatory authorities of various countries and international monetary stability organizations , Behind it, there is a fierce game between the proposed issuer of stable currency and supervision .2021 year 6 month , Issued by the Basel Committee 《 Prudent treatment of crypto asset exposure 》, A set of encryption asset classification standards are proposed , And the regulatory requirements for all kinds of encrypted assets . among , Stable coins are classified as 1b Group encryption assets , Got a relatively loose regulatory treatment , Show the tolerant attitude of the Basel Committee towards its development . In the same month , Published in the UK 《 New digital currency 》 message , It also includes the equivalent of stable currency “ friendly ” Paragraph of .2021 year 11 month , The United States PWG Release 《 Stable currency report 》, And in 2022 year 2 To be heard by Congress in June ; In the same month , The financial stability board (FSB) Release 《 Risk assessment of crypto assets on financial stability 》 The report , Pointed out that “ The global stability currency may land and expand rapidly before the regulatory framework is established and improved ” And specifically mentioned in the footnote Diem project , Hint Diem The sale of the project may not be “ Dream broken ”, But the layout made to meet the requirements of supervision and antitrust , The stable currency may be transferred by the transferee in the future Silvergate Its banking institutions issue , And in Meta and Uber And other ecosystems .

Again , Stable currency and Yuan universe (Metaverse) Concepts can resonate . With the continuous development of the digital age , Especially after the impact of COVID-19. ,“ Real world ” And “ virtual world ” The boundary of the becomes more and more blurred . The field of encrypted assets is not homogeneous (NFT) The heat of , It makes the painting 、 music 、 Cards and even everything in the world can be mapped on the blockchain , The bridge between reality and virtual seems to be gradually becoming more and more perfect . We think , If the idea of meta universe can be broken through , Its probability will be achieved by the social platform with the widest range of users . The essence of the meta universe is to meet the spiritual needs of mankind at a more real level , That is, social in Maslow's Pyramid of needs 、 Respect and self realization . Although games create a way for humans to realize a new self in the virtual world , And with the popularity of the concept of meta universe , Game companies have gained a lot of attention , But after all, the game still belongs to “ niche ” Subculture category ; After realizing yourself, go to the social platform to share 、 And harvest “ give the thumbs-up ”, That is, gaining the widest respect and reputation is the key . The most obvious value in today's human society is wealth expressed by money , Stable currency just provides China Unicom “ Real world ” And “ virtual world ” Channels of wealth . future , If big technology companies bring together social networks 、 entertainment 、 The universe and all other ecosystems , And integrate the stable currency into the reward 、 Sharing and social mechanism design , It will be possible for the stable currency model to achieve rapid and great success .

However, in the medium and long term ,CBDC The relatively stable currency still has a competitive advantage .CBDC It is the direct debt of the central bank , It's outside cash and commercial bank reserves , Provide a new central bank currency for the financial system . The central bank can provide the final means of settlement , To eventually eliminate all debts ; Ability to generate intra day settlement liquidity , Ensure that the payment system operates well ; In a time of crisis , Be able to act as lender of last resort . therefore , Central bank money is final 、 Intra day liquidity and lender of last resort are three important characteristics . One side , From the perspective of individual holders , Bank deposits held by consumers and businesses , Are derived from the funds of the private institution providing the account , Although they use the same monetary unit as central bank money ( such as “ element ”), But it's not the debt of the central bank . therefore , Bank deposits naturally bear the run risk of commercial banks , In extreme cases, there will be bank bankruptcy , It leads to the loss of funds for consumers and enterprises . And the stable currency provided by multinational corporations , No matter what commitment he makes to reserve assets and redemption mechanism , It is inevitable to further introduce an intermediary with default risk , This will undoubtedly make the stable currency contain greater credit risk . But because the central bank has the right to issue money , Therefore, it is impossible to go bankrupt , Make the central bank's digital currency have lower credit risk . On the other hand , From the whole payment system , When using bank account funds to pay , Clearing between consumers and merchants ( Derivative deposit ) Clearing with banks ( Use reserve ) Often asynchronous , This means that there is an intraday credit risk exposure . When using CBDC Payment time , It will only involve the transfer of creditor's rights to the central bank , The transaction can be settled in real time in the central bank's currency directly on the central bank's balance sheet , Without credit risk . therefore , Compared with stable coins, it further increases the way of nesting ,CBDC The feature of provides a secure method for payment system 、 The final clearing medium . Besides ,CBDC In safeguarding monetary sovereignty 、 There are also natural advantages in realizing regulatory compliance . at present , All countries “ Do not hurt ”(do no harm) As CBDC Important principles of R & D , Be able to design through rules , Better reduce the threat to other countries' monetary sovereignty . meanwhile , because CBDC Designed and developed by the central bank , It can ensure the smooth progress of regulatory compliance at the system level . In contrast, stable currency , It can not only challenge the monetary sovereignty of other countries , It may even reverse its anchored standard currency . You can imagine seeing , If several major technology companies jointly issue their own stable currencies with their business partners and financial institutions , And form a highly popular , As its basic asset, the US dollar will lose its use value , The dollar system will be fragmented by these different stable currency circles separated by business ecology . Just like when the dollar was decoupled from gold , Big technology companies 、 Stable currency 、 The combination of Yuan universe may also reverse the monetary sovereignty based on national credit . Considering the above problems , Stable currency projects may still face large regulatory barriers .

Facing digital currency “ Dual track competition ” The challenge of , We should be “ both ”, On the one hand, practice your internal skills hard , keep CBDC Leading edge of R & D ; On the other hand , We should face up to the status of private sector digital currency , Make a risk plan to deal with the challenge of stable currency .

First of all , Solidly promote the domestic use of digital RMB , Constantly enrich the application scenarios . Can fully cooperate with private institutions , Explore in transportation 、 Medical care 、 education 、 Digital RMB application in government affairs and other scenarios , Connect digital RMB and its wallet to the world's most extensive population . One side , If a country's digital currency is connected with its own Ordinary people Are unwilling to accept , You cannot have a large number of usage scenarios , Let alone push it internationally 、 Participate in the cruel international currency competition ? On the other hand , Through the joint operation of the private sector , Digital RMB will be able to weaken its “ Political color ”, And more as a commercial product , More easily accepted by the international community .

second , Continuously enhance the international influence of digital RMB . The digital currency Research Institute of the central bank participated in mBridge The project is CBDC Cross border provides a very good prototype design . at present , The alliance chain technology of digital RMB issuing layer can become the technical basis for cross-border application of digital RMB . future , The people's Bank of China can cooperate with the central banks of other countries on an independent side chain , The central banks, including the people's Bank of China, serve as the verification node of the alliance chain , Byzantine fault tolerance is adopted to form a consensus mechanism , Central banks jointly safeguard cross-border cooperation CBDC Issue ledger . In this way , It can transform the cross-border application of digital RMB into a decentralized platform , So that the central banks involved in cooperation enjoy sufficient regulatory authority , And prevent the behavior of malicious nodes through consensus mechanism , Enhance the enthusiasm of monetary authorities of other countries to participate in the cross-border of digital RMB . further , The author thinks , In the short term, we can first carry out the cross-border pilot of digital RMB in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Dawan district , One country is involved in Dawan district 、 Two systems 、 Three kinds of currency , It is a natural cross-border experimental field of digital RMB . After the successful pilot in Dawan District , The application can be further extended to “ the Belt and Road ” Countries along the line .

Third , Closely track the development and competition of various international digital currencies , Be prepared with many hands . One side , China should actively participate in international cooperation and global governance of digital currency , Continuously improve the international voice of digital RMB , Strive to form a digital currency on the track of the central bank “ Chinese standards ”. On the other hand , It must be recognized that the stable currency is a currency digitization track different from the digital RMB , Accept digital currency “ Dual track competition ” present situation . Pay close attention to the development of overseas stable currencies , Prepare risk plan ; Promote research and legislation on encrypted assets, especially stable currency , To adapt to changes in the international regulatory framework ; If necessary , Support China's large science and technology companies to participate in cooperation and competition in the field of stable currency , Head institutions are encouraged to strictly abide by the bottom line of national financial security , Expand overseas platforms , Promote RMB cross-border payment and settlement , Help China participate in international digital currency competition .

( This article comes from 《 Banker 》 The magazine 2022 In the first 3 period )

editor : Tang Jing

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