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Should cryptocurrencies be included in the portfolio of international reserves held by central banks?

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  • Winston Moore
  • Jeremy Stephen
  • Caroline Elliott

Abstract

In most countries, the central bank is required to hold reserve assets as a means of providing credibility for the value of the fiat currency. These assets can be in the form of gold, foreign exchange or some other internationally recognised reserve asset and are held to permit the country to engage in international transactions. Within recent years, cryptocurrencies have been increasingly utilised for international transactions, and it is possible that the use of these cryptocurrencies might expand in the future. This paper therefore examines the potential role of digital currency balances as part of the portfolio of external assets held by a central bank. Using the case of Barbados, the paper also provides a simulation of the effect holding some proportion of their asset-base would have had on the stability of the foreign reserves as well as the return on the portfolio of assets.

Suggested Citation

  • Winston Moore & Jeremy Stephen & Caroline Elliott, 2016. "Should cryptocurrencies be included in the portfolio of international reserves held by central banks?," Cogent Economics & Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 1147119-114, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:oaefxx:v:4:y:2016:i:1:p:1147119
    DOI: 10.1080/23322039.2016.1147119
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Joshua S. Gans & Hanna Halaburda, 2015. "Some Economics of Private Digital Currency," NBER Chapters,in: Economic Analysis of the Digital Economy, pages 257-276 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Joshua Aizenman & Jaewoo Lee, 2007. "International Reserves: Precautionary Versus Mercantilist Views, Theory and Evidence," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 191-214, April.
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    4. Berentsen, Aleksander, 1998. "Monetary Policy Implications of Digital Money," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 89-117.
    5. Aizenman, Joshua & Sun, Yi, 2012. "The financial crisis and sizable international reserves depletion: From ‘fear of floating’ to the ‘fear of losing international reserves’?," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 250-269.
    6. Maurice Obstfeld & Jay C. Shambaugh & Alan M. Taylor, 2010. "Financial Stability, the Trilemma, and International Reserves," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 57-94, April.
    7. Hongjun Li & Zhongjian Lin & Cheng Hsiao, 2015. "Testing purchasing power parity hypothesis: a semiparametric varying coefficient approach," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 427-438, February.
    8. Dwyer, Gerald P., 2015. "The economics of Bitcoin and similar private digital currencies," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 81-91.
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