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Testing the waters of the Rubicon: the European Central Bank and central bank digital currencies

Author

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  • Hossein Nabilou

    (University of Luxembourg
    University College London Center for Blockchain Technologies (UCL CBT))

Abstract

Breakthroughs in financial technology (fintech), ranging from early coins and banknotes to card payments, e-money, mobile payments, and, more recently, cryptocurrencies, portend transformative changes to the financial and monetary systems. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies bear a significant resemblance to base money or central bank money. This functional similarity can potentially pose several challenges to central banks in various dimensions. It may pose risks to central banks’ monopoly over issuing base money, price stability, the smooth operation of payment systems, the conduct of monetary policy, and to the stability of credit institutions and the financial system. From among several potential policy responses, central banks have been investigating and experimenting with issuing central bank digital currency (CBDC). This paper investigates CBDC from a legal perspective and sheds light on the legal challenges of introducing CBDC in the euro area. Having studied the potential impact of issuing CBDC by the European Central Bank (ECB), particularly on the banking and financial stability, the efficient allocation of resources (i.e. credit), as well as on the conduct of monetary policy, the paper concludes that issuing CBDC by the ECB would face a set of legal challenges that need to be resolved before its issuance at the eurozone level. Resolving such legal challenges may prove to be an arduous task as it may ultimately need amendments to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Suggested Citation

  • Hossein Nabilou, 2020. "Testing the waters of the Rubicon: the European Central Bank and central bank digital currencies," Journal of Banking Regulation, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 21(4), pages 299-314, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:jbkreg:v:21:y:2020:i:4:d:10.1057_s41261-019-00112-1
    DOI: 10.1057/s41261-019-00112-1
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    2. Bhaskar, Ratikant & Hunjra, Ahmed Imran & Bansal, Shashank & Pandey, Dharen Kumar, 2022. "Central Bank Digital Currencies: Agendas for future research," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Central bank digital currency; Central bank; European Central Bank; Cryptocurrency; Bitcoin; Money;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E51 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • K22 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Business and Securities Law
    • K23 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Regulated Industries and Administrative Law
    • K24 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Cyber Law

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