As is well known, one of the assumptions on which cryptocurrencies are based is the decentralization, or the fact that the network on which they are intended to run is absolutely free from institutional constraints. A principle that responds to the needs for the democratization of currency assets which frightens monetary and political authorities. A fear that has prompted many governments in recent years to try to counter the development of the sector in every way, also for fears that it may prove to be the Trojan horse for the development of an illegal economy and the laundering of illicit funds. An accusation made by important actors of the financial scene and shared by many cybersecurity experts, to whom, however, the bishops of digital assets have always responded, asserting instead the total security of the framework prepared. In particular, according to the advocates of virtual currencies, if it is true that transactions guarantee privacy, they do not prevent the capital moved within them from being traceable.
So if decentralized cryptocurrencies are observed with considerable fear by institutional and banking circles, the approach is instead viewed with considerable favor. who would like digital assets distributed and regulated by central banks. CBDCs could indeed prove to be an additional tool capable of making transactions faster and faster, without escaping the radar of the institutions and regulations they have prepared. As the opinion recently expressed by Vitas Vasiliauskas, President of the Board of Directors of Bank of Lithuania and member of the Governing Council of the ECB.
The opinion of Vasiliauskas: advantages and disadvantages
The words of Vasiliauskas were spoken during the Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee conference, within an intervention, entitled "Managing the Soft Landing of the Global Economy", mentioned in turn in a report recently published by Bank of International Settlements.
An intervention in which Vasiliauskas intended to affirm that CBDCs should be used as an instrument of exchange, as a method of payment and store of value, that is precisely those that are the qualities that characterize central bank money. An opinion motivated by the advantages that such an approach could bring to the monetary and banking system in the form of a significant increase in efficiency in payments and in the settlement of shares, in addition to the possible reduction of liquidity-related risks.
Vasiliauskas himself has joined some of these advantages disadvantages which should be placed on the other pan of the scale, that is an increase in the level of financial exclusion deriving from the fact that in some countries, the amount of cash in circulation is continuously decreasing. A phenomenon which, at least on a theoretical level, could eventually lead to the decision by each individual citizen to use an account opened with a private entity, precisely in order to be able to make his payments. A indigestible hypothesis for official channels like the decentralization promoted by the development teams of digital uniforms. Precisely for this reason Vasiliauskas declares himself in favor of a CBDC managed precisely by the ECB, which would be entrusted with the task of guaranteeing citizens direct access to central bank money, having positive effects on long-term financial stability.
The ECB and digital assets
However, the words in question demonstrate how the European Central Bank is also questioning the phenomenon represented by Blockchain technology and the aspects connected to the affirmation of virtual currencies.
In this regard it should be remembered as the same Mario Draghi has recently expressed himself in a not very flattering way towards cryptocurrencies, remembering the significant level of risk deriving from the fact that it is nothing more than financial securities, a high level especially if compared to the certainties guaranteed by a real currency such as the Euro. A statement which, moreover, had been preceded by the declarations made a year ago during the initiative #AskDraghi promoted by the ECB, when in any case the Governor had ruled out the possibility of an intervention against Bitcoin, despite the accusations coming from many sides against the virtual currency attributed to Satoshi Nakamoto tending to brand it as a merely speculative tool.
During the same event, Draghi had also tried to articulate his intervention instead showing interest in Blockchain technology, claiming to consider it an instrument capable of strengthening the economy, although still not entirely secure.
The ECB itself, in turn, has recently affirmed through internal sources how virtual currencies will not in any way influence their monetary policies, not representing at least at the moment a significant element in the global economy.