A group of local and international academics met in Singapore on Thursday, November 15, to discuss the impact of digital currencies on monetary policy and financial stability, says an official report released by the Singaporean government.
The conference, a two-day session entitled Workshop on Digital Currency Economics and Policy was funded and organized by the National University of Singapore Business School, the Asian Bureau of Finance and Economic Research, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
“This workshop aims to deepen understanding of the important monetary policy and regulatory issues implied by these fast-evolving developments,” said Edward Robinson, Assistant Managing Director and Chief economist at Monetary Authority of Singapore. “In conjunction with the third Singapore FinTech Festival, it features specially commissioned studies that can contribute to formalising a framework for analysis. A robust understanding of the implications of digital currencies will inform policies pertinent to central banks and regulators.”
Voices at the Conference Are Bullish on Crypto, Albeit in Slightly Different Ways
Academics speaking at the conference have presented several arguments in favor of digital currencies. Professor David Yermack argued that the introduction of a private digital currency could promote economic welfare by reducing incentives for government-induced inflation and by providing an opportunity to diversify local investments. His sentiments were echoed by Professor Berry Eichengreen of the Berkeley Department of Economics, who argued that “while the centralised control of monies has rarely been complete, the bias towards concentration of currency issuance in the hands of a central government is clear.”
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Famed economist Kenneth Rogoff, who also spoke at the event, presented a slightly different view. According to a government report on the first day of the event, Rogoff said that “digital currencies may have a future as regulated, central-bank issued currencies, rather than private ones.”
Singapore Is Gunning to Establish Itself as Worldwide Crypto Industry Hub
In late September, reports emerged that Singapore is determined to become the first country to “fully embrace” cryptocurrencies. The Monetary Authority of Singapore published a “Guide to Digital Token Offerings” last year, in which a clear legal structure was established for token sales.
Of the report, Damien Pang (Head of the Technology Infrastructure Office under the FinTech & Innovation Group (FTIG) at the Monetary Authority of Singapore) said that “The MAS takes a close look at the characteristics of the tokens, in the past, at the present, and in the future, instead of just the technology built on.”
It doesn’t aim to regulate technology itself but [its] purpose.”