Filed under report | Tags: · banking, bitcoin, economics, electronic money, money, p2p, second life
“Virtual communities have proliferated in recent years – a phenomenon triggered by technological developments and by the increased use of the internet. In some cases, these communities have created and circulated their own currency for exchanging the goods and services they offer, and thereby provide a medium of exchange and a unit of account for that particular virtual community.
This paper aims to provide some clarity on virtual currencies and tries to address the issue in a structured approach. It is important to take into account that these currencies both resemble money and necessarily come with their own dedicated retail payment systems; these two aspects are covered by the term “virtual currency scheme”. Virtual currency schemes are relevant in several areas of the financial system and are therefore of interest to central banks. This, among other things, explains the ECB’s interest in carrying out an analysis, especially in view of its role as a catalyst for payment systems and its oversight role.” (from the Executive Summary)
Publisher European Central Bank, Frankfurt am Main, 29 October 2012