A central bank-issued digital currency (CBDC) could fuel faster bank runs during periods of financial stability, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) said Monday.
The institution - considered by some to be the "central banks' central bank" - argued those looking to develop and launch a wholly digital currency should "carefully weigh" the implications of doing so, especially as they relate to monetary policy and overall stability. In sum, the BIS noted that a currency of that nature "might be useful for payments but more work is needed to assess the full potential."
"A general purpose CBDC could give rise to higher instability of commercial bank deposit funding. Even if designed primarily with payment purposes in mind, in periods of stress a flight towards the central bank may occur on a fast and large scale, challenging commercial banks and the central bank to manage such situations," the BIS stated at the outset.
Later on, the report's authors revisited the subject, outlining a hypothetical situation in which banks - even stronger ones - could face issues during a bank run in an environment in which a central bank's digital currency offers a path for deposit flight.
The report explains:
"Depending on the context, the shift in deposits could be large in times of stress. A crucial element in such system-wide shifts is the stronger sensitivity of depositors to the actions of others. The more other depositors run from weaker banks, the greater the incentive to run oneself. If CBDC were available, the incentives to run could be sharper and more pervasive than today, as the CBDC would be the favoured destination, especially if deposits were not insured in the first place or deposit insurance was (made more) limited. Whereas weaker banks could experience a run, even stronger banks could face withdrawals in the presence of CBDC."
"It would be difficult to stem runs under such conditions, even when providing large lender of last resort facilities," the report adds.
The BIS has taken a somewhat middle-of-the-road view toward distributed ledger applications, expressing a belief through past reports that the technology is promising yet is unlikely to be used widely by banking institutions in the near-term. By contrast, its senior leaders have sharply criticized cryptocurrencies in the past.
Whether such concerns forestall any central bank-issued currency of this kind remains to be seen. As it stands, a number of institutions have looked at the idea of using some cryptocurrency elements as part of their digital money projects. Last week, Yao Qian, who heads up the People's Bank of China's research in this area, argued that some characteristics should be incorporated.
Piggy bank image via Shutterstock
The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.
Central BankBISBank of International Settlements
Analysis: What 2019 Could Bring for Bitcoin
Trading in altcoins was a big part of what made Bitcoin price spike towards the end of 2017. A section of the crypto space argues that while altcoins helped Bitcoin’s market cap swell, they also bro
Bitcoin Cash Going Down as Stellar Warms up
Bitcoin Cash’s market cap has been cut in half since the Nov. 15 hardfork which birthed the Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV chains. Now at a mere $3.5 bln and a unit price of ~$201 as at the time of writ
300k User Data from Chinese Auto Finance Platform Sold For One Bitcoin on Dark Web
It is revealed that 300,000 pieces of user data from a Chinese auto finance platform Jiurong were compromised and priced at one bitcoin on the dark web.
According to the leaked data posted, persona
Heyday of Bitcoin Mining Rigs Business at China’s Huaqiangbei is Over Amid Crypto Market Carnage
Bitcoin price slumped to a 13-month low of about $4,300 on Wednesday, making mining the world’s leading digital currency an unprofitable business. A lot of mall miners, mining rigs dealers and minin
Dialogue with Bitcoin Evangelist in Latin America: RSK Labs CEO Diego on Crypto Industry
Diego Gutierrez is the CEO at Koibanx and president of Bitcoin Argentina NGO. In addition, Diego also serves as the CEO of Rootstock/RSK Labs, a smart contract platform built on top of bitcoin.
China’s Bitcoin Billionaire Zhao Dong : Bitcoin Price to Hit $50,000 in Three Years—Now Is the Time to Buy the Dip
Despite Bitcoin’s latest crash and a real chance that its price will go much lower, Zhao Dong, prominent Chinese OTC trader and founder of Dfund, remains bullish on the the world’s biggest cryptoc
Bitcoin Miners Sold by Kilo in China Amid Cryptocurrency Crash
The leading cryptocurrency bitcoin once fell below $4,300 on the afternoon of November 20 – down more than 17% on a 24-hour basis and hitting a 13-month low since October 2017. Great losses are seen
Xiao Lei: 3 Main Reasons of the “Unreasonable” Bitcoin Price Crash
Cryptocurrency markets experienced a havoc in the past few days. Bitcoin, the uncrowned king in the crypto world, has fell as much as 30% over the past two weeks, while other major tokens are all suff