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22 January 2020

Just 20 years into the 21st Century, we have already seen remarkable changes that we could never have anticipated. We’ve come up with 20 predictions that explore what the next 20 years may have in store for your organisation.

Prediction 13

Currency sovereignty – for so long seen as solely within the realm of nation states – is now set to move to the private sector. This shift will take place as a natural progression of the emergence of new digital currencies.

While the conversation about cryptocurrencies has often focused on volatility and regulatory concern, there can be no turning back. And over the next 20 years, innovation, customer demand and collaboration with the regulators will lead to stability within the digital currencies space.

The global take-up of these currencies will increase considerably, given their ability to ensure fast, real-time global payments. And once businesses accepting these currencies as payment for goods and services become commonplace, national currencies will lose their dominant position, both domestically and – in some instances – globally too.

This will lead to central banks launching their own digital currencies – triggering competition between the state and those behind corporate currencies. We will see this competition playing out in areas such as interest rates, customer loyalty schemes where points are accumulated for usage, special vendor-deals, and competitive loans or mortgages.

Trends in digital currencies and currency sovereignty

Impact

The growth of corporate currencies will have significant implications for nation states and central banks. Their ability to use monetary tools to manage the economic activity and achieve policy goals will be significantly compromised. This may lead to more countries working collaboratively, recognising the potential of a more dominant currency to secure economic and political power on the international stage.

Once currencies are global and easier to transfer on an international scale, we may also see a shift of transactions, wealth and assets to the developing world.

Employers will get paid in digital currencies, which will mostly depend on their employer. This may lock-in talent to a particular company, as employees may not want to move due to concerns of the impact of changing the currency in which they are paid.

It may also determine talent attraction – a currency with high volatility may attract employees who want to take risks for high returns. As corporations that control the currency may also sit on significant customer data, we may see targeted advertising going onto the next level – with tailored adverts based not only on interests but also on means and wealth.

Corporatised currencies can also lead to the creation of looser value networks amongst different firms for specific purposes and alliances. For instance, global technology companies may band together in an alliance for funding.

Curious to find out what else could happen between now and 2040? Read our other predictions

KPMG does not make any statement in this article as to whether any forecasts or projections included in this article will be achieved, or whether the assumptions and data underlying any prospective economic forecasts or projections are accurate, complete or reasonable. KPMG does not warrant or guarantee the achievement of any such forecasts or projections. Any economic projections or forecasts in this report rely on economic inputs that are subject to unavoidable statistical variation. They also rely on economic parameters that are subject to unavoidable statistical variation. While all care has been taken to account for statistical variation, care should be taken whenever considering or using this information. There will usually be differences between forecast or projected and actual results, because events and circumstances frequently do not occur as expected or predicted, and those differences may be material. Any estimates or projections will only take into account information available to KPMG up to the date of this report and so findings may be affected by new information. Events may have occurred since this article was prepared, which may impact on it and its findings.

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