Prague, 22. 2. 2023 – Some want to anchor the right to cash in the constitution, for others, cash is a concept ripe for writing off and would only introduce cashlessness. But a third way is emerging: digital money or CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency). Some central banks have already launched them, with dozens more in the pipeline. In Prague in May, under the auspices of Mastercard Banks of the Year and Corrency, an extraordinary conference on the subject will bring together banking leaders from across Europe.
CBDC is a hot topic in the world of finance. It’s basically the same cash you have in your pocket. It’s just stored in a digital wallet on your mobile phone. This is not some crazy concept from developing countries or oil economies, the European Central Bank is already working on its version of the digital euro. So who knows what we will actually be paying with in a few years. Around the world, 11 central banks have already launched their digital currencies and 17 have already started a pilot programme for them. Over 70 other countries are either working on a pilot or are looking into the principle of CBDC.
According to many representatives of the banking sector, digital currencies introduced by central banks carry risk. Among other things, banks fear that people and companies may choose to keep their money in digital wallets instead of bank accounts. This would be a problem for the banking sector, which depends on money lending and interest.
The European Central Bank is currently waiting to see how the public reacts to the plans for the digital euro. European central bankers meet in northern Finland on Wednesday 22 February to discuss the digital euro. The ECB is also trying to allay fears that digital currencies will not give countries the level of control leading to projects such as social credit in China.
All aspects of the CBDC will be hotly contested at the international conference in Prague. Is it really safer and faster, as digital currency advocates claim? Isn’t it about more surveillance of citizens? Will cash disappear altogether?
Representatives of the European Central Bank, the Swedish Riksbank or the famous Bank of England will argue whether digital currencies are not a tool by which the state can have total control over the entire economy. In Europe, the vision of anonymous digital money is being promoted, while in China, by contrast, we can see how the state can gain much more control over the population through it.
For example, can CBDC be used as a credit score for the inclusion of incoming migrants, as we see in Finland? Central bankers in London will want to explain why the Bank of England is going ahead with its digital pound at all.
And there will also be talk about the future of today’s classic cash – whether it will survive alongside the CBDC, or whether it will disappear altogether.
Guests from the European Central Bank, the Swedish Riksbank and the Bank of England have been invited. In addition to them, the chairman of the National Budget Council Mojmír Hampl, the head of Mastercard ČR and SK Michal Čarný, a former member of the CNB Bank Board Oldřich Dědek, the chief economist of the Natland investment group Petr Barton, Petr Kotáb from the Law Faculty of Charles University, the founder of the Bank of the Year award Petr Stuchlík, and representatives of KPMG and Mastercard will speak. Michaela Nováková will moderate the guests through the debate.
The conference will take place on Thursday 11 May at Spojka Events in Karlín, Pernerova 697/35.