Market Musings

Private Firms Shouldn't Launch Digital Currencies, Microsoft President Says

Published on:
March 25, 2021

In remarks that could be interpreted as a swipe against Facebook, Brad Smith says currencies are best left for central banks.

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Microsoft’s president has hit out at private companies that are looking to launch their own digital currencies — arguing that this should be left to governments and central banks.


In criticism that could be interpreted as a swipe against Facebook, which is continuing to work on its Diem cryptocurrency, Brad Smith said he is “not a big fan” of tech giants like Microsoft being encouraged to get involved in issuing currency.


Speaking to an online conference hosted by the Bank of International Settlements, he said:

“The money supply 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 means governments.”

And firmly ruling out any prospect of Microsoft jumping on the bandwagon, Smith added:

“We’re not a bank and we don’t want to become a bank and we don’t want to compete with our customers who are banks." 

CBDC Debate Rages On 

Facebook has received fierce criticism for its plans over Diem, formerly known as Libra, with regulators concerned that it could undermine fiat currencies and destabilize the global economy. Although the social network has made sweeping changes to its plans in response to this criticism, many central banks remain vocal critics of the project.


Several countries around the world are now seeking to launch digital versions of their own currency, with China leading the pack. But the European Central Bank’s plans for a digital euro have repeatedly encountered stumbling blocks, with Germany fearing that such an asset would be “catastrophic for savers.”


Writing in a local newspaper, the ECB has attempted to assuage these fears — promising a digital euro won’t replace physical banknotes.


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Connor Sephton

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