Harvard’s Ken Rogoff hits at central banks on crypto regulation

Kenneth Rogoff, a Harvard University professor of economics and public policy, says central banks are “way behind the curve” in the push to regulate cryptocurrencies.

The former International Monetary Fund (IMF) economist said this during an interview with Bloomberg Surveillance on Monday.

Rogoff wondered why the US central bank – the Federal Reserve – was pursuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC). He contends that whatever the government may want to achieve with the digital currency can “accomplish” these same things by tweaking the current monetary system.

A crypto skeptic, including of CBDCs, the economist says having a successful retail rollout by the central bank would result in “massive disintermediation” that the government is “probably not ready to handle.”

For him, the motivation for some of the “smaller central banks” in wanting a CBDC is the hope that they can eat into some of the transactions that are currently being seen on crypto platforms.

Crypto ‘doesn’t want to be regulated’

In a comment that reflects the overall misunderstanding of cryptocurrencies, Rogoff notes digital currencies “general idea” revolves around making it difficult for one to be tracked. He added:

I think central banks are way behind the curve, and governments in general, in regulating cryptocurrencies. They throw out the idea of having CBDCs to distract the conversation.”

Despite there being numerous calls from the crypto industry for regulatory clarity, and government’s recognition of the same, Rogoff thinks the crypto industry is pushing back against regulation.

Comparing the crypto industry today to the financial technology pioneers of the 90s and early 2000s, the Harvard professor says the mantra of “catch me if you can, regulate me if you can” is wrong. He also says crypto is lobbying and pushing back against regulation by throwing around money – the Super Bowl ads is an example.

He also appeared to criticise states like Florida and Colorado for their warm crypto regulatory environment, saying it’s like such states want to be the next El Salvaldor.

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