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从法律上讲,数字货币真的是货币吗?

各国正朝着创造数字货币的方向快速前进——或者,我们听到了这样的消息various surveysshowing an increasing number of central banks making substantial progress toward having an official digital currency.

But, in fact, close to 80% of the world’s central banks are either not allowed to issue digital currency under their existing laws, or the legal framework is not clear.

To help countries make this assessment, we reviewed the central bank laws of 174 International Monetary Fund (IMF) members in a新的国际货币基金组织员工纸, and found out that only about 40 are legally allowed to issue digital currencies.

Not Just a Legal Technicality

Any money issuance is a form of debt for the central bank, so it must have a solid basis to avoid legal, financial and reputational risks for the institutions. Ultimately, it is about ensuring that a significant and potentially contentious innovation is in line with a central bank’s mandate. Otherwise, the door is opened to political and legal challenges.

现在,读者可能会问自己:如果发行货币是任何一家央行最基本的职能,那么为什么数字货币形式如此不同呢?答案需要详细分析每个央行的职能和权力,以及数字工具不同设计的含义。

构建数字货币案例

To legally qualify as currency, a means of payment must be considered as such by the country’s laws and be denominated in its official monetary unit. A currency typically enjoys legal tender status, meaning debtors can pay their obligations by transferring it to creditors.

Therefore, legal tender status is usually only given to means of payment that can be easily received and used by the majority of the population. That is why banknotes and coins are the most common form of currency.

要使用数字货币,首先必须建立数字基础设施——笔记本电脑、智能手机和互联网络。但政府不能强迫其公民拥有它,因此授予央行数字工具法定货币地位可能是一个挑战。如果没有法定货币名称,实现完全货币地位同样具有挑战性。尽管如此,发达经济体广泛使用的许多支付手段既不是法定货币,也不是货币(如商业账面货币)。

未知水域?

数字货币可以采取不同的形式。我们的分析侧重于各央行正在考虑的主要概念的法律含义。例如,在“基于账户”或“基于代币”的情况下:第一种是指将当前在中央银行账簿中的账户余额数字化,而第二种是指设计一种新的数字代币,该代币与商业银行在中央银行持有的现有账户不相连。

From a legal perspective, the difference is between centuries-old traditions and uncharted waters. The first model is as old as central banking itself, having been developed in the early seventeenth century by the Exchange Bank of Amsterdam — considered the precursor of modern central banks. Its legal status under public and private law in most countries is well developed and understood. Digital tokens, in contrast, have a very short history and unclear legal status. Some central banks are allowed to issue any type of currency — which could include digital forms — while most (61%) are limited to only banknotes and coins.

另一个重要的设计特点是,数字货币是只供金融机构“批发”使用,还是供公众(“零售”)使用。商业银行在其中央银行持有账户,因此是其传统的“客户”。允许公民个人账户,就像在零售银行业一样,将是对中央银行组织方式的结构性转变,需要进行重大的法律变革。在我们的样本中,目前只有10家央行被允许这样做。

具有挑战性的努力

The overlapping of these and other design features can create very complex legal challenges — and could well influence the decisions made by each monetary authority.

中央银行数字货币的创建还将引起许多其他领域的法律问题,包括税收、财产、合同和破产法;支付系统;隐私和数据保护;最根本的是防止洗钱和资助恐怖主义。如果他们是”货币发展的下一个里程碑,” central bank digital currencies need robust legal foundations that ensure smooth integration to the financial system, credibility and broad acceptance by countries’ citizens and economic agents.

A version of this piece originally appeared on theInternational Monetary Fund博客。

Catalina Margulis

Consulting Counsel in IMF Legal Department’s Financial and Fiscal Law Unit

Catalina Margulis是国际货币基金组织法律署的财政和财政法律委员会的咨询律师,借助于智利央行。她主要关注中央银行和金融稳定事项,为其他国际货币基金组织部门和成员国提供法律咨询。她的经验包括关于中央银行的法律结构,任务,治理和自主的评估和技术咨询。

    Arthur Rossi

    国际货币基金组织法律部金融和财政法股研究官员

    Arthur Rossi is a research officer in the IMF Legal Department’s Financial and Fiscal Law unit, providing legal analysis on public financial management, financial law frameworks and fintech issues, for the IMF’s financial assistance programs, surveillance activity and technical assistance.

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