by Kieran Smith
Speaking at the 2018 Crypto Valley Blockchain conference in Zug, Switzerland, on June 23, 2018, Thomas Moser voiced his doubts about the creation of an ‘e-franc’ Swiss bank crypto.
Swiss Official Reveals Cryptocurrency Concerns
Moser, a member of the Swiss National Bank’s board of governance, said that the initial interest had now passed, and central banks had become skeptical of introducing national digital currencies or Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).
While this decline in interest might be seen to match the market cycle of bitcoin, which some speculate is currently entering the ‘depression’ phase, Moser says insufficient interest on the part of the banks is due to caution over the potential economic risks, or knock-on effects that introducing a national cryptocurrency might have.
“It to some extent makes sense to have an electronic version of the banknote but the implications are big,” Moser said at the Conference, and then went on to give further reasons why they wouldn’t be adopted yet:
“It’s cumbersome to have all your money, all your savings in bank notes. It’s much easier if you can just switch it or have an account with the Swiss national bank,” said Moser. “Then it becomes volatile — in good times everyone has their money with the banks to earn interest, in the bad times, everyone has it on their devices. There are the things we need to think about how we would handle.”
Despite the doubts of the moment, Moser said the Swiss central bank was not against the idea of digital currencies and was – as might be considered typical of the small mountain nation—neutral.
Bank “Not Against” Cryptocurrencies
Even though Bitcoin was created by programmers as an alternative financial system, representing competition for central banks, Moser said the Swiss National Bank was still not against the idea of digital currencies.
This open stance reflects uncertainty over the potential impact that cryptocurrencies will have on the traditional finance system, especially while the technology is still in such a primitive stage.
Its progression, however, is something being monitored, as Moser suggested that although the Swiss bank would not be the first to break the mold, they would watch with anticipation if another institution should innovate in this way:
“Everyone is monitoring it, some are experimenting with it, heavily, but I think everyone is waiting for someone else to do it first.”
In May 2017, the Swiss government called for a study into the risks and opportunities of launching the e-franc, a Swiss bank digital currency. This is yet to conclude.