How “payment banks” could prevent the next bank collapse
Calls for “payment banks” are spreading in the wake of the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) debacle and the teetering of other “community banks”. “It’s tempting in light of SVB’s failure to assume that the insured deposit limit needs to be raised, but that solution creates new problems. A better approach would be for the U.S. to follow the example of other countries and create “payment banks” that take little-to-no risk, are highly regulated, and have access to the payment network. They would be a place where companies could park funds — like venture capital investment earmarked for payroll — without exposing themselves to the risks that normal banks create.” [Read more at the Harvard Business Review]
Why can’t we just have safe, boring banks?
However, the Federal Reserve has been blocking non-lending banks from accessing Fed payment systems, though, which means the “safe banks” either cannot operate at all or cannot provide the very “safe banking” services that consumers want. Custodia Bank is one such bank, and its CEO Caitlin Long makes an interesting point about the soon-to-be-launched FedNow fast payments platform: “In the thick of today’s social media-accelerated, online-banking accelerated banking crisis, the “borrow short-term and lend long-term” model is less stable than it has ever been. And it’s about to become even less stable – because the speed of money movement in the U.S. is scheduled to accelerate this July, when the new FedNow payment system comes online. Intended to replace Fedwire, FedNow will allow depositors to access their bank deposits 24/7/365. Just imagine how much worse today’s banking crisis would be if panicked depositors could move their funds during the news-filled weekends. [Read more at Caitlin-Long.com]
Banking in a digital fiat currency regime
Rohan Grey has written about these banking system-related issues and has published a paper on how a retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) could provide the public with digital checking and payments services, independent of the existing bank-centric depository system. He argues that in such a regime, existing banks will continue to underwrite loans and evaluate collateral, even as their checking and payments processing functions are rendered obsolete. Loans would be funded by CBDC overdrafts directly to successful loan applicants who are creditworthy and/or whose proffered collateral meets prudential regulatory standards. These DFC overdrafts (effectively secured loans) would be recorded as a liability of the lending bank, and an asset of the central bank. [Read more at RohanGrey.net]
Upcoming conferences, webinars and speaking engagements:
- I’ll be on a “public finance and the digital future” panel at the March 23-25 Willamette College of Law “Our Money, Our Future” (Hybrid) Conference in Salem, Oregon on March 24. [Register here]
- I’ll be moderating the “CBDCs, Stablecoins, Commercial Bank Money Tokens – What is the Future of Money?” panel discussion at the Digital Euro Association (DEA) Digital Euro Conference on March 31 in Frankfurt. [Register with this link and the DECKIFFMEISTER20 code and get a 20% discount]
- I’ll be moderating a panel on “what happens when the lights go out…different schemes for offline functionality” at the in-person Digital Currency Conference (DCC) in Mexico City on May 18. [Register here]
Kiffmeister’s global central bank digital currency monthly monitor
Just a reminder that I produce a monthly digest of central bank digital currency (CBDC) developments exclusively for the official sector. So for any of you out there who work for a central bank, ministry of finance or international financial institution who would like to receive it by email on the first business day of every month, please DM me on LinkedIn or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sovereign Official Digital Association (SODA) is a technology-agnostic firm offering advisory services at the intersection of central banking, digital finance and the web3 industry, aiming to make public digital money a reality. SODA believes institutions in the existing financial ecosystem should have access to the tools and resources they need to move from discussion to action. SODA offers ‘real life’ use cases to help test digital money and drive adoption as central banks and other public institutions explore the future of a more financially inclusive world powered by interoperable blockchain-based networks. SODA would love you to join us on this journey – please get in touch (email@example.com).
Satoshi Capital Advisors is a New York-based, global advisory firm that works with central banks, governments, and the private sector to architect, implement, and operate varying initiatives. Satoshi Capital Advisors’ central bank work revolves around CBDC architecture and implementation, providing advisory services from research phase through to growth phase. Utilizing a product-market fit and technology agnostic approach to CBDC architecture and implementation enables Satoshi Capital Advisors to build tailored solutions, bespoke to local financial system nuances. Satoshi Capital Advisors welcomes requests from central bank officials for virtual and in-person CBDC workshops. [Click here for more information]
WhisperCash offers the first fully offline digital currency platform that has the same properties as physical cash. It can perform secure consecutive offline payments without compromising on security, privacy or accessibility. WhisperCash allows direct person to person offline payments without any server infrastructure or internet connectivity. It comes in various form factors including the self-contained credit card-sized “Pro” that sports an eInk screen and capacitive keyboard, and lasts for two weeks between recharges assuming a few transactions per day. [Click here for more information]