World reserve currencies — are the US$’s days numbered?
“Every dog has its day” is an expression believed to have come from around 405 BC when a Greek playwright, Euripides, was mauled and killed by a pack of dogs. An analogy to this tale could be the US Dollar. Is the end nigh — has the mighty Greenback ‘had its day?’
Having been on the boards for a selection of private and public companies and having been involved in managing money and studying financial markets globally for over four decades, I have learnt that one of the key attributes needed for a successful business is trust. Investors will give their money to you if they trust you, whether it be investing in a pension/ISA you manage, buying shares, or lending money to a company for which you are a director. For this very same reason, it is interesting to note that, after over two years of writing Digital Bytes on a weekly basis (an analysis of some of the developments within the Blockchain and Digital Assets sectors) the recurring attribute cited as to why Blockchain technology is being harnessed is trust. Making sense of the deluge of information, sifting through the PR and marketing spin, as well as the all too common fake news, is sometimes a real challenge when trying ‘to see the wood from the trees.’ Unsurprisingly, it is judicious to look rationally at where we are, the direction of travel and the likely impact on our lives and businesses, which is what Digital Bytes aims to do.
Understandably, the focus for many has been on Covid-19 and the dreadful loss of life caused by this pandemic sweeping the world. Even prior to this, the global economy had been stumbling along under a mountain of debt for companies, governments, and individuals. This ‘binge’ on borrowings had been fuelled largely by weak economic growth, with governments forcing interest rates down, potentially breaking their own laws by engaging in ‘monetary financing’. This practice is illegal in many countries and occurs when a central bank creates money to buy government bonds thus enabling those government to, in effect, spend without limits. In 2014, it was prohibited for the European Central Bank (ECB) to do this. Indeed, its quantitative easing programme has already been questioned by the German constitutional court, which has threatened to no longer provide the ECB with further financial support. Germany’s Constitutional Court reached a verdict in May 2020 that the ECB had potentially acted illegally in buying €2 trillion of…