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Private Digital Currencies Doomed to Fail, Says Singapore’s Central Bank MD

Ravi Menon, Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has predicted that private digital currencies, including native digital tokens, are unlikely to persist in the evolving monetary system.

Menon Advocates for a Structured Digital Currency System with CBDCs

Ravi Menon, the Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has offered a clear vision for the future of digital currencies, distinct from the trajectory of private digital coins and native digital tokens.

During a panel discussion on November 28, co-hosted by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the Bank for International Settlements, Menon elaborated on his perspective about the future of money in the digital age.

In his critique, Menon emphasized the shortcomings of private cryptocurrencies, highlighting their failure to pass the fundamental tests of a stable financial instrument.

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He argued that the volatile nature and the predominance of speculative investment in these currencies undermine their potential as reliable and stable components of the financial system.

Instead, Menon proposes a more structured approach to digital currencies. He envisions a future monetary system that integrates Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), tokenized bank liabilities, and well-regulated stablecoins.

This tripartite model, according to Menon, could offer the stability, reliability, and regulatory oversight lacking in the private cryptocurrency market.

Menon Highlights Stablecoins Backed by Government Securities

In his remarks, the Managing Director placed a strong emphasis on the potential of stablecoins, particularly those backed by high-quality government securities or cash reserves.

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He suggested that such stablecoins could serve as ‘narrow money’, offering much-needed stability and reliability in the digital currency space.

This perspective is in line with Singapore’s recent regulatory moves targeting the stablecoin sector. In a significant step, MAS introduced a comprehensive regulatory framework for single-currency stablecoins in mid-November 2023.

The framework focuses on ensuring value stability, adequate capital reserves, redemption at par value, and transparency through the disclosure of audit results. 

Only issuers that meet these stringent criteria will be eligible to apply for their stablecoins to be recognized as “MAS-regulated stablecoins.” This move underscores Singapore’s commitment to fostering a stable and regulated digital currency environment.

Furthermore, as part of its broader strategy to integrate digital currencies into its financial system, MAS has announced plans to launch a live pilot of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) for wholesale interbank settlements in 2024.

This initiative, known as the Orchid Blueprint, marks a significant milestone in Singapore’s journey towards a digitalized monetary ecosystem.

Rao Optimistic About CBDCs, Emphasizes Need for Data Security

On a similar note, Rajeshwar Rao, the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), expressed a highly positive outlook on the potential success of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).

During his remarks, Rao emphasized that CBDCs could achieve widespread success by addressing unmet user needs and by utilizing accessible, existing technology and infrastructure.

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A key aspect of Rao’s vision for CBDCs includes a strong focus on data privacy, cybersecurity, and operational resilience. He believes these factors are essential for ensuring that digital currencies are trusted as much as physical currency.

The RBI, under Rao’s guidance, has been proactive in exploring the realm of digital currencies. It has already initiated a CBDC pilot involving approximately 2.75 million participants.

The pilot’s success has led to considerations of expanding its scope to encompass interbank money market transactions, indicating the RBI’s commitment to integrating CBDCs into broader financial operations.

Looking to the future, Rao hinted at the possibility of implementing CBDCs on a multilateral basis, suggesting a vision where digital currencies transcend national boundaries and become integral to international financial transactions.


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Donald Haymatter

Donald Haymatter is an expert broker with 15+ years of experience. He stays up-to-date with the latest financial news and trends to help clients make informed investment decisions. Donald is known for his analytical approach and personalized investment advice. Outside of work, he enjoys reading and mentoring young professionals.

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