Blockchain and its potential for economic disruption
Blockchain – a decentralized ledger of transactions that uses computer technology to link, secure and encrypt records – has the potential to become a hugely disruptive technology, rendering financial intermediaries unnecessary and making money transfers nearly instantaneous. However, it requires huge amounts of computing power and still cannot come close to processing the volume of transactions that modern credit card companies do, for example. But these challenges represent opportunities that are sure to be seized by a cascade of innovations.
Opinion: A lost opportunity for cryptocurrencies
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are volatile, but could prove useful by injecting a needed element of competition into the realm of monetary policy and finance. Rather than allow this, however, governments will probably step in to regulate them, perhaps under global supervision. If that happens, we will have missed an opportunity to foster new business and job creation in a healthier monetary environment.
GIS Dossier: The strangely resilient euro
The euro has been remarkably stable during its 15-year existence as a major currency. That has not always been a good thing for the European economy. But the real concerns for the single currency hinge on politics and survival.
Fed seeks cover in ‘natural’ interest rate
Last summer, commentators began predicting that U.S. monetary policy would no longer aim to avoid deflation and boost growth, but to keep market interest rates close to what economists call the 'natural' rate. The reasoning behind this argument – publicly voiced by Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer, among others – is puzzling. That may be deliberate, as the Fed has plenty of reasons to want a free hand in coming months.
Strange bedfellows: Donald Trump and the Fed
President Donald Trump’s incoming administration is about to give the United States Federal Reserve just what it’s been asking for – a significant fiscal stimulus. The problem is what happens next, when inflation expectations, interest rates and the dollar all go up. Tempers will flare in Washington, and the international repercussions could be much worse.
Yuan’s slow rise could mean trouble for Western economies
At the end of November, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that from October 2016 the Chinese yuan will be part of the basket of currencies that defines the Special Drawing Right (SDR), the accounting unit the organisation uses to carry out financial operations. The immediate practical effects will be minor. Being part of a unit of account means all bu...