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Two paths to tomorrow’s money
Payment systems need to be modernised to meet the needs of 21st-century digital economies, but which road to follow? The publication of the Bitcoin white paper in 2008 raised the prospect of global digital currencies without central issuers or intermediaries. While cryptocurrencies have yet to achieve the status of money, the underlying ‘token’ technology has prompted big tech interest in stablecoins and central banks to evaluate novel forms of national currency issuance. Although crypto has captured the column inches, most real-world action in payments since 2008 has been elsewhere — the rollout of instant payments schemes, the adoption of electronic money wallets by hundreds of millions of people and the FinTech revolution. This paper suggests that we stand at a crossroads. Will the future of money be digital tokens, restructuring the financial system as we know it, or a much needed overhaul of account-based payments?
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Tony Mclaughlin is responsible for Emerging Payments and Business Development in Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) business. Tony works on Citi’s ‘Future of Money’ strategy, is responsible for the E-commerce proposition and is deeply involved in new methods of payment, distributed ledger and FinTech engagements. He provides advice on the future of payments to governments, regulators, FinTechs, big techs, corporates and financial institutions.