McKinsey Report: The Emergence of Digital Coin
Digital Coin is money that exists only in the digital world, where it is stored on a decentralized and distributed online ledger called a blockchain. Some examples of digital coins are Bitcoin and Ethereum. Others, like stablecoins, are designed to offer the tradability of cryptocurrencies without their price volatility.
The emergence of digital currency has transformed the financial industry in many ways. It has reduced costs, accelerated transaction times, and made it easier for people to move money across borders. But there are also risks, including a lack of regulation and a potentially volatile market. This McKinsey report explores how digital currencies are evolving and what their future may hold.
Traditionally, money came in the form of a nation’s fiat currency, which is printed by central banks and backed by a physical commodity. While this type of money still exists, most of the money used today is in the form of electronic transactions. This includes bank-to-bank electronic wire transfers, credit cards, and mobile apps that allow users to send or receive payments.
A digital currency allows a user to exchange goods or services directly with another without going through an intermediary, such as a bank or broker. It can also reduce risks associated with physical currency, such as the risk of theft and forgery. The first widely-adopted cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, relies on a blockchain model to prevent a single point of failure and ensure that the record of transactions is tamper-proof. Many other cryptocurrencies use this same technology.
Some experts believe that cryptocurrencies have the potential to become a widely-accepted means of payment, but this is not yet the case. A major challenge is the difficulty of using them to buy and sell things, especially because most merchants do not want to accept them. They are also not a good store of value, since the price fluctuations of most cryptocurrencies mean that they lose purchasing power over time.
One way to make digital currency more useful is to add it to existing payment systems. For example, the Bitcoin virtual currency can be used in the popular Second Life online gaming platform to purchase virtual goods and services. Another example is Q coins, which are a form of digital currency for Tencent’s QQ messaging service.
Digital currencies can also be created by central banks, which are responsible for supporting a country’s government and commercial banking system, setting monetary policy, and issuing its currency. Some major central banks have begun to consider issuing their own digital currencies. These are known as central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). The emergence of CBDCs could alter the landscape, as they would provide a competing alternative to traditional fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies.