Microsoft President Brad Smith says that “The world is best served when currencies are issued, backed by and regulated by governments.” He further emphasized that he is not a fan of encouraging the private sector to issue digital currencies.
Microsoft’s President Says Currency Issuance Should Be Left to Governments
Brad Smith, President of Microsoft Corp., talked about digital currencies on Wednesday at an online conference hosted by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).
He was asked, “can tech firms be trusted to issue money?” and whether it is something Microsoft would do. The executive replied, “It is not a place where we have gone and I don’t think it’s a place we will go.” He pointed out that when the social media giant Facebook proposed the cryptocurrency Libra, which is now called Diem, “We were not part of that.”
Smith continued: “I think that the first question that the world needs to ask is is the world served best when private companies issue their own currency.” He said that in his opinion:
The world is best served when currencies are issued, backed by and regulated by governments.
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital payments and massive stimulus packages have fueled interest in cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin. In addition, the Facebook-backed cryptocurrency and its payment network are expected to launch soon.
The trend towards non-government-backed digital currencies has raised concerns among policymakers worldwide, particularly in the areas of privacy, money laundering, and loss of control over the monetary system.
The president of Microsoft further opined: “When you issue currency, you create a money supply. The money supply, I think, almost uniquely needs to be managed by an entity that is responsible to the public and thinks really only about the public interest and that it means governments … I think it needs to be managed by an institution that has the right kind of regulatory authority.”
In conclusion, Smith emphasized:
I’m not a big fan myself of encouraging or asking or wanting us to participate in the issuing of currency.
“I think the world has been better served by what has been a movement over centuries to put that in the hands of governments,” he reiterated.
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