Digital currencies are transforming our monetary system. Since the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, introduced in 2009, many new developments have challenged the use of traditional payment instruments and financial contracts. Current examples include Diem (former Libra), an initiative led by Facebook to challenge national and international payment arrangements, the USD Coin, the official coin of the crypto exchange Coinbase, and other private sector initiatives that are attracting ever more investment and rattle traditional financial regulation. These developments have not bypassed the attention of regulators, as more and more central banks are actively engaging with research and testing of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) to ensure the availability of central bank money to citizens in the digital age.
The Academy gives a thorough introduction into the topic of digital currencies. It first exposes participants to some of their technological foundations and then discusses the economic significance of their design and impact. Participants will also be exposed to current policy and regulatory challenges through case studies, mediated group discussions and expert panels. Among the topics covered are private sector digital currencies (incl. the so-called stablecoins), CBDCs, optimal digital currency areas, and private efforts to facilitate international payments.