Goldman says cryptocurrencies may succeed as money in some backward places


By Lily Katz
Bloomberg News
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Bitcoin may seem like a solution in search of a problem in the United States, where transaction costs are already low and the dollar stable. But in developing countries, digital currencies could succeed as a real form of money, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. says.

Many currencies in sub-Saharan Africa have lost value due to high inflation and supply mismanagement. As a result, foreign money makes up more than 90 percent of deposits and loans in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zimbabwe demonetized its currency in 2015. Bitcoin could also be useful in regions where governments impose strict rules on the use of traditional currencies from other countries.

"In recent decades the U.S. dollar has served its purpose relatively well," Goldman Sachs strategists Zach Pandl and Charles Himmelberg wrote in a report today. But "in those countries and corners of the financial system where the traditional services of money are inadequately supplied, Bitcoin (and cryptocurrencies more generally) may offer viable alternatives." ...

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