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Prof. Alberto Plazzi, SFI@USI, speaks about e-currencies on RSI La1

Posted by
Swiss Finance Institute
Monday, December 12, 2016 - 08:00

Prof. Alberto Plazzi, SFI@USI, was interviewed recently by RSI La1, the national news program in Ticino, about whether Switzerland should follow Sweden in seriously considering a move toward an e-currency to replace cash.


The Central Bank of Sweden is evaluating the possibility of moving toward an e-currency, that is, its own virtual money to replace cash. The use of cash in Sweden has fallen dramatically in recent years, as payment cards and online transactions become the leading means of payment and purchase.


In the interview, Prof. Plazzi was asked what he thought the advantages and disadvantages would be to moving to an e-currency. The pros to such a move would be savings from money printing and money transfers, and the ability to track transactions. The cons, on the other hand, would be that a move toward a fully virtual money would require safe and well developed IT systems. It may also create issues for some segments of the population and professions for whom access to electronic payments is either problematic, or too costly.


Finally, when asked about the likelihood of the development of an e-currency solution in Switzerland, Prof. Plazzi noted that the use of cash in Switzerland is quite widespread, so it would be hard to imagine a move to e-currency in the near future. On the other hand, Switzerland has benefited for several decades from a sound financial system and social stability, and is well advanced in the quality of its IT infrastructures and financial services. This suggests that an increase in the reliance on card payments may ultimately take off.


To watch the interview (in Italian) click here.

Listen to Prof. Plazzi speak about his research here.