While the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is conducting research into various applications of cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger technologies, they are under no pressure to quickly roll out solutions to address clear needs in the marketplace, a representative said earlier today.
Speaking to the Australian Corporate Treasury Association, head of payments policy Tony Richards, shared his thoughts on what if any roles crypto, stablecoins, and central bank digital currencies could play in the marketplace in the years ahead. He said the growth of this sector has generated the most discussion of any topic the Reserve Bank of Australia has seen in his decade with the organization.
Don’t Believe (Some of ) the Hype
The crypto-based ecosystem is beginning to evolve, Richards said. A range of investors see a role for crypto in their portfolios, and crypto-based versions of various common financial products are beginning to be launched. Yet at the same time many investors are wary, especially as they see low- or no-function cryptos like Dogecoin and Shiba Inu generate multi-billion-dollar market caps.
While Richards acknowledges crypto’s growing popularity, he implies that over zealous proponents are hurting the overall sector by making suspect claims.
“While cryptocurrencies have clearly captured the attention of many, no doubt fuelled by influencers and celebrity tweets, it is unclear how widely held they are,” Richards said. “But some surveys have claimed that around 20 per cent of the Australian population hold cryptocurrencies, and one claimed that Dogecoin alone was held by five per cent of Australians.
“I must say that I find these statistics somewhat implausible. I cannot help thinking that the online surveys they are based on might be unrepresentative of the population.”
The Reserve Bank of Australia regularly conducts research into all sorts of topics, and knows some of the pitfalls surveys are subject to, he said. Older adults and those living in remote areas are hard to capture in results.
“Our experience is that it takes a lot of work to do a really good survey of the population,” Richards observed. “So while it is hard to point to any firmer evidence on cryptocurrency holdings by Australians, some of the estimates out there are extremely surprising and may be symptomatic of the significant amount of hype and misinformation in this area.”