Carney Tackles Crypto, Brexit in Marathon Online Q&A Session

(Bloomberg) -- Bank of England Governor Mark Carney experimented with a new form of outreach as he spent more than a hour answering questions on the Internet on Wednesday.

In response to some 30 questions from members of the public, he wrote that the bank is ready for Brexit, downbeat on Bitcoin and a defender of cash. The 53-year-old Canadian posted more than 10,000 words in his answers, making it about twice as long as the annual Mansion House speech he delivered to the grandees of London’s financial district last year.

The Q&A was part of the BOE’s Future Forum event, designed to increase awareness of the central bank. While previous years have seen Carney and other officials travel out of London to hold events, the current iteration has moved online, with the Governor’s responses the latest in a number of sessions in past months.

Here are the highlights of Carney’s remarks:

  • The central bank is ready for Brexit, “whatever form it takes,” with banks in a stronger liquidity position than during the crisis.
  • The impact of Brexit is starting to become more evident in U.K.-focused equities and bank funding costs, as well as the pound.
  • While use of cash is declining, Carney repeatedly said the BOE has no plans to abolish it, evidenced by plans to issue a new 50-pound ($64) note.
  • Bitcoin is still “failing as a form of currency,” mainly because it’s not a good store of value.
  • The BOE has an open mind about the eventual development of a central bank digital currency, but that’s a “long-term prospect.”
  • It’s particularly interested in improving cross-border payments, which can presently can cost 10 times more than domestic ones.
  • He reiterated that any future BOE rate increases will be limited and gradual.

Carney is next scheduled to face journalists on Feb. 7, when he presents the central bank’s updated forecasts at the quarterly Inflation Report.

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