What Is a Digital Coin?
A digital coin is a token that represents value. These tokens can be digitized, stored and exchanged on a blockchain-based ledger that is decentralized and distributed. The best known example of a digital coin is Bitcoin, but there are many other examples as well. Some are regulated by central banks while others are unregulated. Some are called stablecoins, which are designed to offer the tradability of cryptocurrencies without price volatility. One of the largest stablecoins is Tether, which is tied to the US dollar.
A central bank digital currency (CBDC) is the same as a traditional currency in that it can be used to purchase goods and services. However, CBDCs can be deposited in online wallets and used to transfer funds over the internet. Many central banks are exploring the potential for CBDCs, including China’s digital yuan.
CBDCs are different from cryptocurrencies, which use cryptography to create and manage their money supply. A CBDC is backed by the authority of a government or central bank, which sets monetary policy and issues currency. This makes them less speculative and more like cash.
The blockchain technology that powers cryptocurrencies is also useful for creating other types of digital coins. Blockchains allow people to add value to any item that can be represented by a unique digital fingerprint. This value can be represented in terms of a coin or token, or in other ways that represent a particular type of asset, such as real estate or music. This can be done using a protocol that allows for peer-to-peer transactions to take place over the blockchain.
Blockchains are a useful tool for transferring value and making payments. They provide a secure and transparent way for people to interact with each other over the internet, while reducing the risks associated with third-party intermediaries. They can be used for both commercial and consumer purposes, from e-commerce to lending to crowdfunding.
Some cryptocurrencies have been the target of fraud and other abuses. Scammers have used fake celebrity endorsements to boost the price of certain virtual currencies, for instance, and have even created fake accounts on social media platforms to lure people into investing in their schemes. In some cases, investors lose their entire investment in a cryptocurrency due to fraudulent activities.
There’s no strong public policy case for CBDCs in Australia at this stage, but we remain open to the possibility. The RBA is continuing to monitor the development of CBDCs around the world and will consider any implications for the Australian financial system if they become more widely adopted.