Cover: Disruptive Money

Disruptive Money

Exploring the Future of Corporate Cryptocurrency

Published Sep 21, 2023

by Jim Mignano, Jade Yeung, Fiona Quimbre, Mandlenkosi Dube, Steven W. Popper, Noreen Clancy

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Research Questions

  1. What are corporate cryptocurrencies?
  2. What makes corporate crypto disruptive?
  3. What could a desirable future with widespread corporate crypto look like?
  4. If corporate crypto went mainstream, what might the global security implications be?
  5. What do policymakers need to think about today to achieve an outcome consistent with the desirable future vision?

Researchers considered a future in which corporate cryptocurrency (crypto), a type of fungible digital token sponsored by multinational corporations, is in widespread use in a manner that is widely seen to serve the public interest. Researchers convened internal experts and external stakeholders to envision such a future and identify strategic approaches to evolving technological and economic trends underpinning this future. This analysis pays special attention to the balance of global benefits and risks that corporate crypto presents. The report should be of interest to policymakers, businesspersons, technologists, and advocates working on the future of money and payments at the global level.

Key Findings

  • Peer-to-peer digital currencies are designed to make payments easier, faster, and less expensive. Some multinational corporations are experimenting with peer-to-peer digital currencies to increase payment efficiencies and support innovation. Examples of this corporate crypto exist today but are few in number; limited in use; and remain in developmental, experimental, or pilot stages. The most ambitious corporate crypto, Facebook's Libra, faced significant regulatory headwinds and was canceled before launch.
  • Corporate crypto is functionally similar to other digital currencies that enable peer-to-peer transactions (e.g., Bitcoin, retail Central Bank Digital Currencies). Unlike these other digital currencies, however, a corporate crypto can benefit from characteristics of its corporate sponsor, such as market share, existing customer base and business relationships, and brand equity.
  • Corporate crypto would be disruptive—developing new markets or altering existing ones—to the degree it disintermediates existing financial service providers. The most disruptive corporate crypto would be sponsored by a nonbank private enterprise with a global footprint.
  • As disruptive as it might ultimately become, a desirable future state involving corporate crypto relies on overcoming policy challenges that are not unique to corporate crypto (e.g., multilateral cooperation, conceptual and normative consensus, adequate information).
  • Considering the recent failures of unregulated cryptocurrency projects, it is important to be alert to how corporate crypto can succeed where other crypto projects have failed. As multinational corporations contemplate sponsoring corporate crypto, stakeholders will need to engage in dialogue with one another to decrease uncertainty and ensure innovation serves the public interest.

Research conducted by

Funding for this project was provided by the generous contributions of the RAND Center for Global Risk and Security Advisory Board and was undertaken by the RAND Center for Global Risk and Security.

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