Supersedes Working Paper 19-26 – Should Central Banks Issue Digital Currency?

We highlight an important policy tradeoff: While a digital currency tends to promote efficiency in exchange, it may also crowd out bank deposits, raise banks' funding costs, and decrease investment. We derive conditions under which targeted digital currencies, which compete only with physical currency or only with bank deposits, raise welfare. If such targeted currencies are infeasible, we illustrate the policy tradeoffs that arise when issuing a single, universal digital currency.