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Updated December 14, The Reserve Bank governor has talked down the chances of a Government-issued cryptocurrency, despite a massive increase in electronic transactions.
In a speech in Sydney, Dr Philip Lowe said the major cryptocurrencies are not very effective as a way to pay for things, with high transaction costs, including the massive amounts of energy needed to "mine" them. Investment bank JP Morgan's boss Jamie Dimon has gone further, calling bitcoin a "fraud" that will eventually "blow up".
Dr Lowe said previous experiments with privately-issued currencies showed that they were not reliable and stable. In times of uncertainty and stress, people don't want to hold privately issued fiat money. However, Dr Lowe said the Reserve Bank currently saw no need for an electronic currency, given advances currently underway in the electronic payments system. So there would need to be more than this. Dr Lowe said that the introduction of the NPP, which will allow near real time electronic payments to be made through the banking system, dramatically reduced the need for separate electronic payment methods.
Reserve Bank figures show that the overwhelming majority of payments are already made electronically, with cash now accounting for less than 40 per cent of transactions. Physical cash only makes up about 3.
However, despite most payments being done electronically, RBA figures also show that there have been more banknotes on issue over the past few years than at any other point over the past five decades. Dr Lowe also warned that an official electronic currency issued by the Reserve Bank on behalf of the Australian Government could carry risks to the banking system. Dr Lowe said there would be similar problems if people had electronic transaction accounts at the RBA. First posted December 13, If you have inside knowledge of a topic in the news, contact the ABC.
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