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Digital Currency Time

Why are we talking about digital currency now? There’s no single reason. It’s not because of any one change in technology or business models or regulation . We’re talking about digital currency because it’s digital currency time.


First Among Equals

The website Biblio-Fiend have listed their nine best books about the future of money and I cannot help but be a little flattered to find out that this book is the first of them! Here’s the ful list:

The Currency Cold War.

Blockchain Bubble or Revolution by  N. Mehta, A. Agasha & P. Detroja (Paravane: 2019).

The Future of Finance by H. Arslanian & F. Fischer (Palgrave Macmillian: 2019).

Beyond Blockchain by E. Townsend (2018).

Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin by D. Birch (LPP: 2017).

The Internet of Money volumes 1-3 by A. Antonopoulos (CreateSpace: 2016).

Personal Currency by R. Colbourn & A. Riegelmann (Lionhead: 2016).

The Age of Cryptocurrency by M. Casey and P. Vigna (Macmillan:2015).

How Would You Like To Pay by B. Maurer (Duke University Press: 2015).

Needless to say, I was very flattered to be in such good company!

A First No.1

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14th June 2020

Well, this is quite exciting. The book has made it to no.1 New Release in Amazon USA’s “Banks & Banking” category! Sincere thanks to all you kind souls who bought the book in its first couple of weeks out there.

It’s Digital Currency Time

Subscribe to the American Banker podcast series

I was interviewed by Penny Crossman for an American Banker podcast. Just as steam engines came along when it was steam engine time (all of the technologies and resources had been around for a while), so now it’s digital currency time.

The Safello Show

I’ll be discussing “The Currency Cold War” live on The Safello Show with Frank Schuil on Monday 1st June 2020.


Launch Webinar with Wordline

The wonderful people at Wordline are hosting a webinar to launch this  book on an unsuspecting world. And it's FREE! And you can win copies of the book by asking a question! What are they like! I'll be having a conversation about digital currency and what it might mean with Nicolas Kozakiewicz, the Chief Innovation Officer at Worldline (and a very smart guy, so you should ask him tough questions too). Monday 18th May at 5pm CET be there or be square, as the kids say.

It’s Here!

It’s here!


Chinese Digital Currency Goes Into Beta

Well, this is quite exciting. The first reports have appeared concerning the Digital Currency/Electronic Payment (DC/EP) system being tested in four cities: Shenzen, , Chengdu, Suzhou and Xiong’an. Xiong’an is the recently-established “development hub” near Beijing and it is where the “non-core” functions of the Chinese state are going to be relocated to.

DC/EP is the Chinese Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). What I thought most noticeable about the first implementations (this is from the Agricultural Bank of China, ABC) is that they include the person-to-person offline transfer functionality. This, as the Deputy Governor of the People’s Bank of China, Fan Yifei, said in an interview to Central Banking magazine, is so that thenew system "could attain a similar function of currency to cash… The public could use it directly for various purchases, and it would prove conducive to the yuan’s circulation".

DCEP-interface

with the kind permission of @molllliy

As I note in the book, this makes DC/EP look more like Mondex than Libra, so I was surprised to see the digital Yuan labelled “crypto-inspired” on Twitter!

MIT Right and Wrong

In the MIT Technology Review “10 Breakthrough Technologies for 2020”, digital money is correctly identified as one of the most important technologies of the year. It really is, and not only for financial reasons. Their article says that

the rise of digital currency has massive ramifications for financial privacy

Indeed it does but, as I suggest in the book, we can make design choices about how digital money works to “set the dial” on privacy.  So I think that the privacy issues can be managed. But what really caught my eye in the MIT piece was the closing statement that  the "digital money wars have begun”.

This may seem hyberolic, but it really isn’t, which is why I wrote this book.

As to who might win these wars, well, who knows. The truth is that after writing this book I don’t know any more than anyone else knows. I can say that I doubt that Libra is the future of digital money (many observers noted that Mark Zuckererg’s Vision for 2030 that was published on Facebook in January 2020, did not mention Libra at all) but it has certainly been a catalyst for thinking about the future of digital money. What I am more certain about is that there are some people who take the notion of this coming digital money war seriously, have a strategy for the battles to come and a long-term plan to win it. 

The Digital Currency Revolution

My report for the London-based future of finance think-thank the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation (CSFI) has been published. It’s called “The Digital Currency Revolution” and you can download it for free from their web site.



© David G.W. Birch 2020