Briefing

U.S. Federal Reserve looking into issuing digital currency

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At a payments conference Wednesday, governor Lael Brainard said the central bank was experimenting with and studying the policy and legal implications of distributed ledger applications, including to create tokens. It is also working on a real-time payments and settlement service. (Reuters)

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Talking point: While some monetary policymakers—including Brainard herself—have previously been skeptical of the usefulness of issuing their own digital currencies, central banks are increasingly examining the possibility. In April, the Bank of Canada (BoC) and its U.K., Switzerland, Sweden, Japan and European peers, as well as the Bank for International Settlements, plan to meet on the sidelines of a Washington, D.C. conference to discuss their efforts. In October 2019, The Logic reported that the BoC was considering its own digital currency, although it said it hadn’t decided whether to launch it. Such efforts are driven in part by the prospect of tech giants issuing tokens—Brainard cited Facebook’s Libra project in particular.