A Theoretical Approach to Electronic Money
The paper proposes an analysis of money which starts from electronic money. In open contradiction to the traditional approach, characterized by a general lack of interest by theoreticians towards payment system issues, the paper argues that analysis of the distinctive characteristics of electronic money is bound to contribute to received monetary theory. After indicating the distinguishing properties of electronic money (which derive entirely from its technical features), the paper outlines their consequences on the principles of monetary theory. It is argued that recognition of the fact that electronic money is nominal money issued in an operation of monetary intermediation, provides an analytical framework for a better understanding of electronic money issuance, as well as of the meaning of issuing money. The analysis will show that only a deep analysis into the very nature of bank money can provide a better understanding of phenomena such as electronic money, which is consistent with the evolution of financial and banking innovations, in particular with the rise of interest bearing mediums of exchange.
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