The dividing line between money and data is becoming more and more blurred with the proliferation of digital currencies. Crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum have established themselves at the radical end of the spectrum. Facebook joined the fray in 2019 with the announcement of plans for its asset-backed Libra digital currency. The perceived threat of these innovations to the integrity of the international currency markets is now bringing a response in the form of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) which are being planned by Central Banks across the globe.
The arrival of CBDCs brings many questions. Does the fear of Big Brother style surveillance outweigh the benefits of transparency? Do they give Central Banks a more effective response to banking failure or expose fiat currencies to even greater risks of speculation? How do they enable greater access to banking facilities and wider financial inclusion?