Research Handbook on Central Banking
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Research Handbook on Central Banking

Edited by Peter Conti-Brown and Rosa M. Lastra

Central banks occupy a unique space in their national governments and in the global economy. The study of central banking however, has too often been dominated by an abstract theoretical approach that fails to grasp central banks’ institutional nuances. This comprehensive and insightful Handbook, takes a wider angle on central banks and central banking, focusing on the institutions of central banking. By 'institutions', Peter Conti-Brown and Rosa Lastra refer to the laws, traditions, norms, and rules used to structure central bank organisations. The Research Handbook on Central Banking’s institutional approach is one of the most interdisciplinary efforts to consider its topic, and includes chapters from leading and rising central bankers, economists, lawyers, legal scholars, political scientists, historians, and others.
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Chapter 22: Digital currencies, decentralized ledgers and the future of central banking

Max Raskin and David Yermack

Abstract

Central banking in an age of digital currencies is a fast-developing topic in monetary economics. Algorithmic digital currencies such as bitcoin appear to be viable competitors to central bank fiat currency, and their presence in the marketplace may pressure central banks to pursue tighter monetary policy. More interestingly, the blockchain technology behind digital currencies has the potential to improve central banks’ payment and clearing operations, and possibly to serve as a platform from which central banks might launch their own digital currencies. A sovereign digital currency could have profound implications for the banking system, narrowing the relationship between citizens and central banks and removing the need for the public to keep deposits in fractional reserve commercial banks. Debates over the wisdom of these policies have led to a revival of interest in classical monetary economics.

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