After issuing comments and reports heavily critical of cryptocurrencies over the last few years, Agustin Carstens, chief of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), has acknowledged that central banks will likely soon need to issue their own digital currencies.
Speaking to the Financial Times on Sunday, Carstens said that BIS – which acts like a central bank for central banks – is supporting global central banks’ efforts to research and develop digital currencies based on national fiat currencies.
A number of central banks are engaged in such work and “we are working on it, supporting them,” Carstens said. Further, the arrival of such products might just around the corner if there is clear evidence of demand from the public.
According to Carstens:
“[I]t might be that it is sooner than we think that there is a market and we need to be able to provide central bank digital currencies.”
The comments come soon after Facebook’s unveiling of its planned Libra cryptocurrency made headlines and shook regulators worldwide, as the prospect of a tech firm with users in the billions launching is own money potentially poses a threat to state currencies.
France’s finance minister has said that Libra must not be allowed to become a sovereign currency.