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The Weekend Read: August 21

1. Reports

In case you missed it be sure to read the World Economic Forum report, "The Future of Financial Infrastructure" or at least the brief Dealb%k piece.  The report continued on the great work done last year in the report  "The Future of Financial Services." 

Also CB Insights released "The Pulse of Fintech, Q2", briefly described here as well, worth a read through for a nice snapshot of the VC funding landscape.

2.  Cash

This week I started reading the new "The Curse of Cash" by Kenneth Rogoff of “This Time is Different” fame.  He is particularly convincing in his argument against higher denominated bills, and it's a thought-provoking book.  I just wish the chapter at the end which discusses a Fedcoin, (which Rogoff calls "Bencoin,") was built out a little more.  Perhaps someone should write a book discussing the inherent technical aspects of a CBDC which could potentially add value...I feel like it most recently has been discussed as a means for central bank to enact policy, which gets my inner Econ nerd side interested, but it doesn't tell the whole story. What about the vast potential ramifications for settlement, or the benefits of programmable money, or the value of a transparent record of payments? 

Speaking of Fedcoin, JP Koning's blog recaps some recent discussion about expanding access to central bank money;

Echoing Broadbent, BoE Deputy Governor Minouche Shafik has spoken of the need to rethink "about to whom we give access to the advantages of central bank money with its unique qualities of finality of settlement." The idea here is to allow non-banks involved in fintech direct access to the Bank's real time gross settlement system, as Mark Carney goes on to illustrate here.

Turning to the blogosphere, John Cochrane has recently written about having all money backed by the government in order to end bank runs. And in the same vein, here is David Andolfatto's idea of allowing TreasuryDirect balances to be tradeable, thus providing individuals and firms with a safe place to keep cash other than the banking or shadow banking system.

Pretty trippy stuff... News broke on Central Bank Digital Currency lead position opening at BoE.

3. Other news

Zcash release date set on October 28.

Bitfinex gives an interim update, and volume numbers on the platform rebounded nicely this week.

Finally, there was a global payments TechCrunch article, a blockchain as digital tokens vs. activity registers piece, and a piece on the "subtle tyranny of blockchain."

Thanks to all, have a nice tail end of the weekend.