Journal Article

Technological Change and Central Banking

Abstract: The decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) represents a radically new way to manage databases. Since money and payments are all about managing databases and since banks play a central role in money and payments, DAO-based money and payments systems are potentially a disruptive force in the banking system—which includes central banks. One would normally expect regulatory frameworks to evolve with a changing technological landscape. However, the decentralized governance structure characteristic of DAOs renders it near impossible to regulate these entities directly—a property that makes them ideal vehicles to exploit regulatory arbitrage. In this article, I discuss some of the monetary policy implications of DAO-based money and payment systems. I highlight the prospect of a globally accessible DAO-based stablecoin that may conceivably end up financing a large fraction of global trade. To the extent that such a structure imposes systemic financial risk and to the extent it cannot be regulated directly, an alternative strategy is to offer a competing product. A central bank digital currency accessible to firms involved in the global supply chain may be one way to mitigate the systemic risk associated with an emergent, unregulated global stablecoin.

Keywords: decentralized autonomous organization (DAO); databases; payments; money; banking; central banks; regulation; stablecoins; systemic financial risk; central bank digital currency;

JEL Classification: E02; G28;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Part of Series: Review

Publication Date: 2024-01-05

Volume: 106

Issue: 1

Pages: 1-9