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加密货币可能碰上了新的“敌人”:美联储

Jeff John Roberts 2018年11月07日

虽然比特币等基于区块链的货币基本上都在当前的金融系统之外,但是和其他资产一样,各种数字货币可能也会受到美联储决策的影响。

罗伯特·莱什纳是专门研究利率的专家。多年来他一直在预测,美联储会把政策利率设定在什么水平。说得更通俗些,他是在预计,美元未来的价值。

身为训练有素的经济学家,莱什纳发现加密货币市场存在一个问题:不付利息。不同于法定货币,无论是储蓄比特币、以太坊,还是其他任何数字代币,都不会收到利息。

在《财富》杂志周播节目《Balancing the Ledger》最新一期中,莱什纳解释说,发现问题以后的第一反应是开了一家名叫Compound的公司,让加密货币的持有者能通过持仓获得一定比率的回报。

Compoud的投资者包括硅谷知名风投公司安德森-霍洛维茨和美国最大加密货币交易平台Coinbase旗下的风投机构Coinbase Ventures等。目前该公司仅提供四种相对小众的代币交易,但计划很快添加其他的加密货币,包括所谓的稳定币(stable coin)。稳定币是指挂钩美元的加密货币,与美元的兑换比率为1:1。

莱什纳认为,稳定币之所以能成为当前的热点,主要是因为相对容易创造,而且投资者渴望买入。他同时敏锐地指出,稳定币对发行方来说也是笔大买卖。卖家基本上是以零利率提供贷款,往往还要为启动稳定币支付交易费。

因此,无怪乎越来越多加密货币领域的公司推出了稳定币,比如持比特币获得亿万身家的文克莱沃斯兄弟旗下交易所Gemini推出了Gemini Coin,还有“美版支付宝”Circle和Coinbase共同支持的USD Coin。莱什纳预计,市面上的稳定币可能很快会超过50种互相竞争,令人不由想起美元历史上的一幕:19世纪曾有几十家银行推出各自版本的美元。

美联储会不会推出数字版本的美元,即很多人猜测的所谓Fed Coin,终止这场稳定币的混战?莱什纳认为,要等美联储出手还要很久,可能会出现加密货币公司为更多法定货币推出相应的代币版本,帮Compoud之类公司吸引追逐利息的交易者和套利者。

《财富》杂志《Balancing the Ledger》节目的主持人问莱什纳,鉴于现有的外汇市场提供了巨大的货币市场,且提供了海量流动性,货币数字化是否真有必要。他回答说,数字版本的法定货币具有一些优势,其中之一便是能与依托区块链的智能合约相互作用。

“代币化的优势在于,提升货币的透明度和易编程性。”莱什纳表示,“当美元向区块链敞开怀抱,创新程度就可以大幅提升。”

虽然莱什纳对货币代币化前景很乐观,但他对很多加密货币比较怀疑,可能只是昙花一现。而且他预计,美联储的一系列加息将加密货币市场造成压力。

“加密货币的实际利率上一直为零,即便有也处于低位。由于货币环境宽松,市场的资本非常充裕,寻求可能的收益机会。”莱什纳说,“我们终于开始进入利率不断上升的环境,这是加密货币未曾经历的情况。利率走高可能对众多加密资产形成挑战,对股票等一般资产也一样。”

换言之,虽然比特币等基于区块链的货币基本上都在当前的金融系统之外,但是和其他资产一样,各种数字货币可能也会受到美联储决策的影响。(财富中文网)

译者:Pessy

审校:夏林

Robert Leshner is an interest rates guy. He’s spent years predicting what rate the Federal Reserve will set and, more generally, what the future value of money should be.

An economist by training, Leshner sees a problem with the cryptocurrency markets—namely, it doesn’t pay any interest. Unlike fiat currencies, no one will pay you to store your Bitcoin, Ethereum or other digital tokens.

As Leshner explained on the latest episode of Balancing the Ledger, his response was to start a company called Compound, which lets cryptocurrency owners park their digital tokens in exchange for a rate of return.

Compound, whose backers include Andreessen Horowitz and Coinbase Ventures, is currently listing only four lesser known tokens but plans to add others soon, including a so-called stable coin. Stable coins are cryptocurrencies pegged to the U.S. dollar on a 1-to-1 basis.

In Leshner’s view, stable coins are a hot item right now because they are easy to create and crypto investors are eager to buy them. But he shrewdly points out that stable coins are also a great deal for those who issue them—the buyers are basically lending them money at zero interest, and often paying transaction fees to boot.

No wonder, then, that more and more crypto companies are offering stable coins, including the Winkelvoss brothers’ Gemini Coin, and USD Coin, which is supported by Circle and Coinbase. Leshner predicts there may soon be more than 50 stable coins competing in the market—a situation reminiscent of U.S. money in the 19th century when dozens of banks offered their own version of the dollar.

Could the Federal Reserve soon put a stop to this by issuing a digital version of the dollar— what many dub a Fed Coin? Leshner thinks this day is far off and, for now, we’re likely to see crypto companies offering token versions of more fiat currencies, which will in turn attract traders and arbitragers to the likes of Compound in search of interest.

We asked Leshner if all of this really necessary, given that there is already an enormous and liquid market for currencies in existing foreign exchange market. He argues there are upsides to digital versions of fiat currencies, including their ability to interact with blockchain-based smart contracts.

“The advantage of tokenization is it brings transparency and programability to currency.” he said. “When dollars are open to blockchain there’s so much more innovation that can occur. ”

While he is optimistic about tokenized currencies, Leshner is skeptical of many cryptocurrencies, which he likens to vapor-ware. He also thinks that a series of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve will begin to weigh on the crypto markets.

“We’ve always known crypto in an environment of essentially zero or low interest rates. And that’s an environment of easy and loose money where capital has been prolific and looking for returns wherever it was found.” he said. “We’re finally starting to enter an environment of rising interest rates which crypto has never seen before and it’s going to be potentially challenging to the price of a lot of crypto assets just like it will be for a lot assets in general, including equities.”

In other words, Bitcoin and other blockchain-based currencies—which were invented in large part as a form of money outside of the existing financial system—may find themselves exposed to the decisions of the Federal Reserve in much the same way as other assets.

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