Reflections on welfare and political economy aspects of a central bank digital currency

Alex Cukierman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The point of departure of this short paper is that, in order to preserve the effectiveness of monetary policy in a world increasingly flooded by private digital currencies, central banks (CBs) will eventually have to issue their own digital currencies. The paper presents two proposals for the implementation of such a currency: A moderate proposal in which only the banking sector continues to have access to deposits at the CB and a radical one in which the entire private sector is allowed to hold digital currency deposits at the CB. The paper contrasts the implications of those two polar paths to a CBDC for the funding of banks, the allocation of credit to the economy, for welfare and for political feasibility. One section of the paper shows that the radical implementation may pave the way toward a narrow banking system and dramatically reduce the need for deposit insurance in the long run. The paper evaluates the relative merits of issuing a currency on a blockchain using a permissionless distributed ledger technology in comparison to a centralized (permissioned) blockchain ledger operated by the CB and concludes that the latter dominates the former in more than one dimension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-125
Number of pages12
JournalManchester School
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • blockchain technology
  • central bank digital currency
  • centralized versus decentralized currencies
  • narrow banking
  • permissioned
  • permissionless


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