Opinion: The future of money is a centralized accounting currency

Digital currency has caused rethinking about the nature of money, and this thinking has made the author realize that the future direction of money is likely to be opposite to the current electronic currency, that is, a mechanism similar to “bookkeeping currency” will prevail. . This means that in the case of highly developed instant messaging methods, people only need to keep accounts in the bank, use the means of communication to transfer and pay for any size and any amount, without having to actually hold the currency in hand. This mechanism has actually been basically realized in China. It is logical to speculate that it is likely that it will prevail globally in the future. Therefore, the current emerging electronic currency is likely to have gone astray. Because it mistakenly promotes people to hold money in their hands, the author believes that it will eventually decline.

“Accounting currency” is a type of currency that is not commonly used but exists in reality. For example, in the trade between the two countries, if both parties lack internationally accepted foreign exchange reserves, then it can be agreed that the trade between the two parties can only use such foreign exchange currency for pricing and bookkeeping, without actually paying such foreign exchange. Therefore, when specific trade behavior occurs, the relevant countries only need to adjust the corresponding subjects in their respective accounts separately, even if the settlement is completed. Even if the two parties want to close the account one day in the future, since the amount of import and export can offset each other, the amount of foreign exchange actually needed to be delivered will be greatly reduced.

Although the above-mentioned monetary mechanism is rarely used today, in monetary theory, “bookkeeping currency” as a special monetary type can be used to clarify the nature of money by comparison with other forms of currency. In particular, it highlights that the basic function of money is a unit of pricing, rather than something that must be held by the parties. The nature of the currency that needs to be held is derived from its basic function. So, what causes the currency to traditionally need to be held in hand? The reason is obviously mainly in the area of ​​communication. In traditional society, although banks can act as the accounting center for people's monetary wealth, communication with the center is difficult, slow, inefficient, and lacks credibility, which not only leads to cash transactions. The amount is large, and it has led to the development of derivative payment instruments such as “checks” (the check is actually a letter from the bank that the drawer writes to his bank, which provides credibility by means of printing and signature) . Nowadays, convenient, timely and reliable means of communication (such as mobile payment) are finally available, so people's cash holdings are greatly reduced, the amount of cash transactions is greatly reduced, and the check is almost extinct. These actual evidences are explained in both positive and negative aspects. “Holding in hand” is not a necessary nature of money. This nature is mainly due to the lack of communication capabilities.

From this point of view, it is a slap in the face of the use of developed information technology to meet the requirements of holding money in hand. The means of communication has improved. Naturally, it should be used to strengthen communication between users and accounts in order to allocate funds. How can we do the opposite and turn the funds in the account into "electronic objects" and then "extract" them? Distribute it out in a distributed way? These electronic objects are scattered in the society, but will reduce the efficiency of the use of funds. In order to support the operation of the electronic currency, the blockchain technology used at the bottom layer is more complicated, and the storage space occupied is large (even after the upgrade, the data storage capacity is likely to explode), the communication traffic demand is high, and the operation is slow. And the energy consumption is amazing. It can be speculated that if such a system is put into practical use on a large scale, network congestion and failure are almost inevitable, and it is far less simple, stable, and reliable than the current system.

Privately issued electronic money is not feasible, because if it is feasible and approved by the regulatory authorities, then the next step is bound to set off a wave of electronic currency issuance. It is conceivable that any enterprise of considerable scale and credit will try to issue electronic coins, and the result is the chaos of the financial system. The regulatory authorities must recognize this danger. The idea of ​​characterizing an electronic coin as a new type of securities actually reflects the monetary authorities' refusal to recognize it as a currency (so companies with such assets cannot simply record it as cash assets). As a kind of securities, the hotline under the eyes of electronic coins is a speculation of the ".com" speculation at the turn of the century, which reflects the superstition of speculators about objects they don't understand.

If a country's central bank issues electronic money, it will certainly avoid the many shortcomings of private issuance. However, what are the benefits of this conversion? The benefits that its supporters are currently enumerating are not enough. According to the author's opinion, such a major change, if there is no obvious and huge interest, should never be rashly implemented. We should understand the real reason why electronic coins are valued in countries where mobile payments are underdeveloped, because electronic coins are clearly expected to be used for mobile payments, so that they can be easily transferred anytime, anywhere.

The monetary system is an "algorithm" of economic activity. Money, regardless of its specific physical form, is a kind of “calculus” that implements this algorithm. Its function is mainly to provide on-site credibility for decentralized economic calculations (see Algorithmic Economics Theory: Economics Cognition). Revolution and its great synthesis, Li Bin, Economic Daily Press, 2019.5). Gold and silver need to pay a lot of capital and labor to extract. This mechanism causes gold and silver to be naturally and automatically accompanied by a kind of credit. The printing of banknotes plus legal guarantees also provides a degree of credibility. It is said that the mechanism design of Bitcoin also provides a credibility, but its number is not easy to increase, and the maintenance cost is too high. The new currency used to replace Bitcoin (such as Libra), although partially offsetting the shortcomings of Bitcoin, relies on the credit and support mechanisms under the net, which makes it not far from the current credit currency. .

Compared with the above methods, the instant messaging provided by the site can provide far more credibility for commodity trading. Money is just a proof that the holder has a certain amount of financial resources. In the mobile payment method, the payer not only delivers the certificate to the payee in real time, thus completing the payment, and has already helped the payee to The money delivered was deposited into the bank account in real time and began to live. Under the mobile payment method, ordinary parties, and thus the entire society outside the banking system, do not have to actually hold and save money (the cost of holding, storing, maintaining, watching, and transporting has always been considerable), relying solely on it and Real-time communication between financial institutions to operate the currency. This mechanism makes the currency truly a “bookkeeping currency”, and the changes it brings can even be said to be essential, at least huge and historical.

Author: Li Bin

Source: Securities Times