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The Rise of Digital Money

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The Rise of Digital Money


5 min read
3 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Digital money could use the help of the world’s central banks.

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  • Analytical
  • Overview
  • For Experts


Consumers are increasingly turning to PayPal, Alipay and other payment platforms to transfer, borrow, save and store funds. Companies are also in on the digital action, integrating blockchain intro their financial ecosystems. This disruption of the traditional banking architecture has vast implications for central bankers as well. In this thoughtful examination, economists Tobias Adrian and Tommaso Mancini-Griffoli take a deep dive into the e-money sphere, highlighting why monetary officials need to play an important part in the shaping of these new digital monies.


Digital payment services and platforms are rapidly proliferating.

A variety of digital fund platforms are contending to supplant traditional cash payments. But individuals want stable value for their money above all other considerations. How the new scrips will provide that reliability and fit into the banking sector poses many still unanswered questions.

Today, payments can occur via five discernible means: 1) the currencies managed by the world’s central banks; 2) the “b-money” that banks issue; 3) cryptocurrencies based on blockchains; 4) the electronic or “e-money” offered by fintechs for digital payments; and 5) “i-...

About the Authors

Tobias Adrian heads the IMF’s Monetary and Capital Markets Department, where Tommaso Mancini-Griffoli is deputy division chief.

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