Deutsche Bank (DB) believes cryptocurrencies could replace fiat by 2030 as the “forces that hold the fiat money system together” begin to unravel.
The bombshell was dropped in a report Thursday by the 149-year-old bank, which is Germany’s largest, and comes a week after news broke that Germany will likely allow financial institutions to deal in crypto as early as next year.
DB’s “Imagine 2030” research report offers 24 “contrarian ideas” that could eventuate over the next decade globally, ranging from the adoption of a six-hour workday to the more novel “on-demand” life whereby a fridge would autonomously sense a shortage of milk and order a fresh batch.
The fall of fiat
The report mentions what many would think (for a bank) to be the unmentionable — the potential demise of fiat currency.
DB Analyst Jim Reid argues fiat has been the subject of some sort of arcane experiment since the dollar’s decoupling from gold in 1971, stabilized not through the management of central banks as they would have you believe, but through more serendipitous events like China’s entrance to the global labor supply. He writes:
“That this current fiat system has survived so long has required a fortuitous set of global forces across multiple decades that have created sizeable natural offsetting disinflationary forces.”
But central banks may be about to lose their grip. According to Reid, aging populations will likely lead to higher labor costs worldwide, which could, in turn, send inflation rates skyrocketing well beyond the scope of state-level control.
In this thinkably catastrophic scenario the “multi-trillion dollar (or Bitcoin) question,” he says, is whether or not fiat can compete with alternatives like crypto and gold as a viable medium of currency.
“The forces that have held the current fiat system together now look fragile and they could unravel in the 2020s. If so, that will start to lead to a backlash against fiat money and demand for alternative currencies, such as gold or crypto could soar.”
Crypto: “21st-century cash”
The DB report will surely vindicate the broader crypto community in its decade-old vision of an alternative monetary system, but, despite its flattering description of crypto as “21st-century cash,” the bank took a puzzling view of crypto’s fundamental value propositions.
DB highlighted crypto’s benefits as being “security, speed, minimal transaction fees, ease of storage and relevance in the digital era” — several of which have been historical pain-points for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other top cryptocurrencies — while failing to mention core tenets like scarcity of supply and systemic transparency enabled by blockchain.
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