Former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has joined the board of Stripe, a U.S.-based digital payments company. Carney stepped down from the regulatory perch last year after opening the door for central bank innovation in digital currencies.
“The very nature of commerce has changed over the past decade,” Carney said in a press release. “I look forward to supporting Stripe over the coming years as they build the global infrastructure that enables the internet to become the engine for strong and inclusive economic growth.”
Following the announcement of the Facebook-led libra stablecoin initiative, since rebranded as Diem, in 2019 Carney called for global leaders to study digital replacements for cash. He noted that the U.S. dollar’s hegemony was waning, though didn’t entirely discount the idea of private currency replacements.
“It is an open question whether such a new Synthetic Hegemonic Currency (SHC) would be best provided by the public sector, perhaps through a network of central bank digital currencies,” Carney said at the Economic Policy Symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, at the time.
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He further argued that a private, “synthetic currency” could be a better alternative to another fiat currency, such as the yuan or the pound, replacing the U.S. dollar. “While CBDC (central bank digital currency) poses a number of opportunities, it could raise significant challenges for maintaining monetary and financial stability,” he said before leaving office.
Stripe has an interesting, if mixed, relationship with cryptocurrencies. After three years of offering bitcoin support, the company ditched the cryptocurrency as a payment option in 2018. The payment processor recently began offering checking accounts and other banking services for commercial clients, and has backed a startup looking to compete with stablecoins.
Privately held Stripe was most recently valued at $115 billion in the secondary market, according to Forbes.