Working Paper

Should Central Banks Issue Digital Currency?


Abstract: We study how the introduction of a central bank-issued digital currency affects interest rates, the level of economic activity, and welfare in an environment where both central bank money and private bank deposits are used in exchange. Banks in our model are financially constrained, and the liquidity premium on bank deposits affects the level of aggregate investment. We study the optimal design of a digital currency in this setting, including whether it should pay interest and how widely it should circulate. We highlight an important policy tradeoff: while a digital currency tends to promote efficiency in exchange, it can also crowd out bank deposits, raise banksfunding costs, and decrease investment. Despite these effects, introducing a central bank digital currency often raises welfare.

Keywords: collateral constraint; Monetary policy; cryptocurrency; liquidity premium; aggregate investment;

JEL Classification: G28; E42; E52; E32;

https://doi.org/10.21799/frbp.wp.2019.26

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Part of Series: Working Papers

Publication Date: 2019-06-03

Number: 19-26

Pages: 32 pages