Putting an end to a suspense that no one really took seriously, the Banque de France announced a few hours ago that it would launch experiments in the first quarter of 2020, with a view to developing a “Central Bank Digital Currency”.
This approach aimed at setting up an unprecedented “Crypto-Euro”, is a firm response to the “Libra threat”, France, like most nations, having perfectly understood that this type of initiative directly threatens monetary sovereignty.
Little detail however on the form of this digital currency: it will probably be a stablecoin, even more probably blockchain-based. The whole problem with this faster, more secure and eminently modern future currency is that it will not be … Bitcoin!
The future Governor of Crypto-Banque de France?
“There should be no ambiguity: the bitcoin is it not a currency ?, or even a cryptocurrency “. These words, made at the end of 2017 during a Franco-Chinese financial forum in Beijing, were those of the Governor of the Banque de France François Villeroy de Galhau.
Our great national financier suspected it that, two years later, almost to the day after this firm and irrevocable position, he would find himself announcing on December 3, 2019 the establishment by his venerable institution of a future “Crypto-Euro” ?
So of course, it is out of the question to formally discuss Bitcoin (whose interested party has always denounced the speculative dimension, which for a banker might make you smile). And even if the initiative intervenes very directly in response to Facebook with its crypto Libra, not a word either for Zuckerberg’s small start-up.
The BdF Lab on the move
There is little doubt – unless the Banque de France strikes us at the unveiling of a disruptive technology that it would have developed in its cellars over the weekend -: the future European electronic currency will necessarily be forged on a blockchain. We will also remember that the institution has already made some mistakes on the subject, including the development of the project MADRE, be there tokenization SEPA identifiers, in collaboration with Blockchain Partner.
Note that at the time, the Lab of the BdF had received only a polite but timid welcome, even though obviously MADRE embodied only the first steps on a path which – no doubt – will ultimately change the European financial landscape.
The Lab, precisely, is the internal structure that will be in charge of coordinating tests on this exotic novelty that represents a digital currency (or synthetic, it’s trendy) from Central Bank.
It is Nathalie Aufauvre, the director general of financial stability and operations, who will be in charge of this sensitive file, which will be scrutinized with international attention, in particular not the nations already well engaged on the subject, such as China or Tunisia.
Blockchain, not Bitcoin
If the initiative is praiseworthy, even daring, may judge some observers who are not familiar with crypto-industry and fintech, it is important to remember that it comes under the form of a reaction to an existential threat : the wishes of certain members of GAFAM who struggle to hide their desire to conquer a monetary continent, hitherto reserved for nations.
And moreover, if the Governor of the Banque de France continues to denounce Bitcoin as a hideous speculative object, “Not based on any underlying asset”, François Villeroy de Galhau who is a brilliant man do not doubt it for a moment, deliberately conceals the corpus of new values and freedoms that the original concept of Bitcoin and its blockchain offers.
In other words, the deployment of a “crypto-euro” in no way aims to give back more powers to citizens but simply to ensure the survival of centralized organizations, themselves frightened by new private actors, just as centralized. Crypto-euros will thus be subject to absolute state control and de facto centralization, blithely violating certain founding values of the blockchain.
If this hybrid will initially be reserved for “wholesale” transactions (including between financial institutions), a variation in retail banking is already glimpsed against the backdrop of the realization of an old Colbertist state fantasy: the eventual disappearance of cash, all of the money in there de facto tokenized.
This prospect of the disappearance of “cash” in the long term opens up other debates, which hardly agree with an increase in individuals’ margins of freedom.
Nice to meet you, it’s Hellmouth! Editor-in-chief of Bitcoin, the crypto media you are honoring to survey right now (well done, you have taste).
Crypto-enthusiast of the second hour, nothing is more important to me than supporting the global adoption and democratization of the treasures that the blockchain offers us.
I write articles between two cocktails in Tahiti, my adopted island, and do not hesitate, if the opportunity arises, to feast on a plump scam or a little too enterprising Ponzi pyramid.
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