Someone wants to anchor the right to cash in the constitution, for another cash is a concept ripe for writing off and would only introduce cashlessness. There is a third way: digital money or CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency). Some central banks have already launched them, with dozens more in the pipeline. There will be a conference on the subject in Prague in May, sponsored by Mastercard Banks of the Year and Corrency.
Just a few years ago, digital currency was almost sacrilege for central bankers. Today, even the European Central Bank is talking about a digital euro, Politico reports. Around the world, 11 central banks have already launched their digital currencies and 17 have started pilot programs for them. Over 70 other countries are either working on a pilot or looking into the CBDC principle.
In addition to fast mobile payments, digital currency carries risks. These include implications for financial stability and potential loss of privacy. The older part of the population may find it difficult to get used to digital money and trust it at all. By contrast, even the adoption of the Euro was preceded by years of often heated and ultimately healthy political debate.
Yet some form of digital money will become common. Today, representatives of the aforementioned European Central Bank, the Swedish Riksbank and the renowned Bank of England are already openly talking about it. They, too, will argue in Prague about whether digital currencies are not a tool by which the state can have total control over the entire economy. In Europe, the vision of anonymous digital money is gaining ground; in China, by contrast, we can see how the state can gain much more control over the population through it.
Guests from the European Central Bank, the Swedish Riksbank and the Bank of England have been invited. In addition to them, the chairman of the National Budget Council Mojmír Hampl, former CNB board member Oldřich Dědek, chief economist of the investment group Natland Petr Barton, representatives of KPMG and Mastercard will speak. Michaela Nováková will guide the guests through the debate.
The CBCD will be used as a credit score for the inclusion of incoming migrants, as we see in Finland, for example. Central bankers from London will want to explain why the Bank of England is going ahead with its digital pound at all.
The conference will take place on Thursday 11 May at Spojka Events in Karlín. It will be the first major opportunity to learn about the CBDC topic in the Czech Republic, straight from the people in charge. The capacity is limited to 200 visitors for organizational reasons.