A senior figure at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) believes a digital currency backed by a central bank would open the door to much greater innovation in retail payments.
Tommaso Mancini-Griffoli, the IMF’s deputy division chief in the Monetary and Capital Markets Department, said synthetic CBDCs – digital currencies backed by the liabilities of a central bank, but issued with the aid of a private entity – could provide citizens with a reliable means of payment that simultaneously leverage some of the key competitive advantages of the private sector.
A synthetic CBDC as outlined by Mancini-Griffoli is pretty much a public-private partnership. The idea is a licensed eMoney provider stores client funds in a central bank and, in return, receives a central bank liability they can package however they see fit into a publicly tradeable stablecoin that remains fully-backed by central bank reserves.
Speaking Tuesday morning on The Money Movement, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire’s new Youtube series, Mancini-Griffoli argued the key benefit offered by a synthetic CBDC, compared to a traditional CBDC – namely, where the central bank is responsible for the entire running of a digital currency – was that it made space for innovation.
Synthetic CBDCs – focusing on retail payments – enable central banks to promote monetary innovation within the confines of a safe and well-regulated environment, he said. In contrast, the traditional idea of a CBDC – which had pretty much “gone out of the door” in Mancini-Griffoli’s opinion – could become “very costly and very risky to the central bank, and it may deter innovation.”
“This public-private partnership [of a synthetic CBDC] is intended to conserve the competitive advantages of the private sector: to interface with clients and innovate, and the comparative advantage of the central bank: to regulate and provide trust,” he said.