The world is about to get an early glimpse at the Federal Reserve’s work on a new digital currency. Wall Street is not thrilled.
Banks, credit card companies, and digital payments processors are carefully watching the push to create an electronic alternative to the paper bills Americans carry in their wallets. Some call it a digital dollar, and others call it a Fedcoin. As soon as July, researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which have been developing prototypes, plan to unveil their work, says James Cunha, who leads the project for the Boston Fed.
A digital currency could fundamentally change the way Americans use money, leading some financial companies to lobby the Fed and Congress to slow its creation—or at least ensure they’re not cut out. “Everyone is afraid that you could disrupt all the incumbent players with a whole new form of payment,” says Michael Del Grosso, an analyst for Compass Point Research & Trading LLC. The banks’ main trade group has told Congress a digital dollar isn’t needed, while payment companies such as Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. are trying to work with central banks to make sure any new currencies can be used on their networks.
A U.S. virtual currency could still be years away. And it’s unclear how a digital dollar would interact with the existing global payments network. Still, the U.S. and other countries seem committed enough to digitizing their currencies that it’s making financial industry executives nervous. “The fire has been lit,” says Josh Lipsky of the GeoEconomics Center at the Atlantic Council, a think tank. “The world is moving very quickly on these projects.”
The growing popularity of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies, whose market value has grown to more than $1 trillion, inspired the projects. Unlike those privately created tokens, the new currencies would be issued by central banks as an alternative to paper bills. Cash wouldn’t go away, but its use would likely decline.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
The Decline of a Great American Tech Company
How Intel lost its way
Gaming the Gig Economy
A group of DoorDash workers are trying to set a minimum rate for deliveries
Asian Americans Are Ready for a Hero
After going from “model minority” to invisible minority to hunted minority, the community needs a new generation of cultural and political leaders
How Toyota Dodged The Chip Shortage
As rivals shutter plants, the automaker’s close monitoring of its supply chain gives it an edge
A plan to renovate public links in the U.S. capital aims to bring golf back to the community
Temporarily changing a car’s appearance is becoming a lasting passion among collectors.
WON'T YOU BE HIS NEIGHBOR?
Mayor Francis Suarez goes on a charm offensive to lure techies—and Elon Musk—to Miami
Austin, Reluctant Boomtown
Residents fear that the wave of tech workers arriving will turn the city into San Francisco
Your Facebook Friend Has Some Thoughts To Share About Your Covid Vaccine
Mark Zuckerberg wanted to make Facebook a source of reliable information about the pandemic. Instead he created a perfect platform for conspiracy theorists
A Squeeze on the Global Middle Class
An estimated 150 million people slipped down the economic ladder in 2020, the first setback in almost three decades
CONGRESS TO PRESS BIG TECH CEOS OVER SPEECH, MISINFORMATION
The CEOs of social media giants Facebook, Twitter and Google face a new grilling by Congress Thursday, one focused on their efforts to prevent their platforms from spreading falsehoods and inciting violence.
How to Surf the Net More Safely
To help you fight identity theft, consider adding a VPN.
Did Anyone Hear a Pop?
Investors are worried that stocks are in a bubble— and that it’s going to burst.
JOSH HAWLEY'S TOXIC POPULISM
IS THE SENATOR’S AUTHORITARIAN GRANDSTANDING THE DARK FUTURE OF THE GOP?
BRINGING EARMARKS BACK WON'T FIX CONGRESS
ELIMINATING EARMARKS DIDN’T MAKE THE GOVERNMENT SMALLER. BUT REINSTATING THEM WOULD FACILITATE LEGISLATIVE CORRUPTION.
Why We (Still) Shouldn't Censor Misinformation
Trump’s loss in 2020, a majority of his supporters believed the election had been rigged. Some adopted wild conspiracy theories involving Chinese supercomputers, Hugo Chavez, and state-level Republican officials. These beliefs culminated in an attack on the U.S. Capitol that left five people dead. To make sense of these events, many officials have argued that platforms such as Facebook and Twitter allowed conspiracy theories to spread unimpeded, leading to erroneous beliefs and deadly behaviors. In other words, they blame misinformation for the violence.
What Is Wi-FI 6E?
If you’re in the market for a new router or any device that uses Wi-Fi, you should first understand the new Wi-Fi 6E standard and what it means for the future of wireless networks at home and in offices around the US. The Wi-Fi Alliance, a group of Wi-Fi platform vendors that work with the FCC and electronics manufacturers to set standards for Wi-Fi technology, announced the Wi-Fi 6E designation in 2020 for any IEEE 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) products that support 6GHz wireless spectrum. Essentially, this means Wi-Fi 6E enables faster speeds and lower latencies than Wi-Fi 6 and earlier iterations.
When America Became a Democracy
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 finally delivered on the stated ideals of this country. Now it hangs by a thread.
This Year Will Be Great. Really
After months of forced closures and record-high unemployment, the U.S. is ready for an economic recovery—and the franchise industry is uniquely positioned to lead the charge.
ITALIAN ‘PINOCCHIO' TAKES THE PUPPET TO ITS ROOTS
The latest cinematic rendering of “ Pinocchio, ” from Italian director Matteo Garrone, is informed not by the friendly 1940 Walt Disney retelling, but the original source material.