Bill Winters, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, is the latest representative of a financial giant to address the phenomenon of digital currencies. Speaking at the Singapore Fintech Festival, Winters said that the creation and adoption of digital currencies is “absolutely inevitable,” an opinion that was quite a turnaround from the one held by these institutions a year or two ago.
That’s not all, however. The Standard Chartered Bank exec also drew a distinction between different types of digital currencies, stating,
“I think there is absolutely a role for central bank digital currencies as well as non-central bank-sponsored digital currencies.”
Winters also suggested that Standard Chartered is set to announce further news “along these lines” in the coming days.
In fact, the banking exec also commented on the fact that the greatest opportunities for digital currencies could be in new, niche segments that do not replicate existing fiat currencies. This is an especially interesting insight since it is based on the presumption that digital currencies and fiat currencies can co-exist, whereas in many quarters the belief is that digital currencies will just displace fiat currencies.
Addressing the use case of digital currencies outside the realm of what Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) would be used for, Winters said,
“The really interesting development for me is to have currencies that don’t match a currency in and of itself, but are intended to capture either a superset of a subset.”
Winters’s statements come at an interesting time since a similar sentiment was shared by Michael Corbat, CEO of Citigroup recently after he stated that sovereign digital currencies are “inevitable.” In fact, Corbat also revealed that Citi has been working with governments around the world on the idea of the creation and commercialization of digital currencies.
As mentioned, these comments by mainstream executives represent a considerable change in sentiment around digital currencies, particularly in the eyes of large banking corporations.
Most notably, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, an exec who once referred to Bitcoin as a “fraud” and compared it to the tulip bubble, has now acknowledged that “very smart people” are buying into cryptocurrencies.
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