Sheila Bair, former chair of the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), has suggested that the Federal Reserve Bank should seriously consider the prospects of a central bank issued digital currency (CBDC), reports Yahoo Finance.

The concept of a cryptocurrency called FedCoin has provoked interest over past years, based on an idea proposed in 2014 by blogger JP Koning. Since then, the idea has been much discussed and the term is now generically used to describe a CBDC which could be overseen by the Federal Reserve, IMF, and the World Bank.

Currently, the US government can stimulate and slow economic activity in periods of recession and boom. A CBDC, in theory, would not have the same kind of culpability to large fluctuations in value given proper oversight and management by a centralized authority, suggests Coindesk.

Bair has her warnings regarding the Feds status quo regarding its crypto machinations, suggesting, “If it does not stay ahead of this technology, not only could banking be disrupted — but the Fed itself could also be at risk.”

Bair points out that centralized digital currencies would be “much more effective tools for conducting monetary policy to address economic cycle”, but does warn that credit availability issues do mean that consumers holding all of their funds in CBDCs could cause credit deficits without ensuring banks could remain competitive with Fedcoin. This would require careful Fed legislation.

Bair’s comments on the viability of CBDCs by the central bank are timely as government officials around the world are considering the merits of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in structure, but state-controlled in vision.

Major central banks now experimenting with digital currencies and blockchain are growing, including The Bank of England, the Banque de France, the People’s Bank of China, the Bank of Canada, the Central Bank of Russia and the Dutch Central Bank.

This is not the first call for a Fed digital currency. Kevin Warsh, former Federal Reserve governor, suggested earlier this year that the creation of a “FedCoin” needed “serious consideration”, as reported in the New York Times.

 

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