Towards digital cash

The new technology of blockchain is still at an experimental stage—but it is winning more enthusiasts as the days go by


The blockchain world is expanding rapidly. Four global banks—UBS, Deutsche Bank, BNY Mellon and Santander—have announced plans to collaborate on a new form of digital cash that will be used to settle financial market transactions faster. Citibank, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan are also working on their own versions of digital money using distributed ledger technology. The World Economic Forum says in a new report that more than 24 countries are now looking seriously at the technology, and so are more than 90 central banks. This newspaper has already suggested that the Reserve Bank of India should work on a new digital currency.

All this is a far cry from the origins of bitcoin, which was supposed to be a guerrilla insurrection against a financial system dominated by big banks and lubricated by fiat money issued by central banks. The new technology is still at an experimental stage—but it is winning more enthusiasts as the days go by.