Disruptive money: Exploring the future of corporate cryptocurrency

3d render of a cryptocurrencty exchange rate panel. Photo by lucadp/AdobeStock

Photo by lucadp/AdobeStock

What is the issue?

Sending money anywhere in the world could be as easy, inexpensive, and fast as sending an email. Cross-border payments have become easier, less expensive, and faster, but they fall far short of the possible. The World Bank estimates, for example, that the average cost of sending remittances exceeds 6 percent and that "cutting prices by at least 5 percentage points can save up to $16 billion [£12.7 billion] a year." Moreover, nearly a third of the world's adult population lacks access to banking services.

Some large corporate entities are experimenting with financial technologies such as cryptocurrency to improve global payments and financial inclusion. Among others, J.P. Morgan, SoftBank, Alphabet, and Meta are investing in and developing the cryptocurrency market, while observers highlight potential risks such as sanctions evasion and financial instability. "Corporate cryptocurrencies" challenge a delicate balance between private innovation and public oversight of money.

How are we helping?

This project will lay out a framework for considering the public/private balance of benefit and risk in managing money globally, as these corporate cryptocurrencies attempt to surmount numerous barriers.

Researchers from RAND Europe, RAND Australia, and RAND will consider the prospects for, and implications of, a future in which multinational corporations increasingly issue their own cryptocurrencies. This future is likely to reflect several tensions (e.g., public/private, bank/non-bank, local/global, haves/have nots). We will elaborate these sources of tension—and their possible resolutions—through a review of available literature and series of participatory foresight workshops with external stakeholders. The workshops will be oriented toward minimizing global risk while maximizing benefits presented by corporate cryptocurrency.

This research is made possible through donor-funded seed grants from the RAND Center for Global Risk and Security (CGRS). CGRS seed grants provide research funding for a broad range of topics and support cooperation among researchers across RAND's offices and those at peer institutions around the world.