What is the future of money in a digital age? This was the subject of an event at the Peterson Institute for International Economics last week. This seminar used to be the intellectual high point of my time at the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington. The first answer to that big question is: “It is complicated.” The second is: “It is really important” — especially since Facebook’s Libra project.

This new idea has forced policymakers to think hard — and rightly so. Money is too important to be left to the private sector alone. Like the law, it is a foundational public good. The state has always had oversight over money and must continue to do so. Lael Brainard, a governor of the US Federal Reserve (Fed), made clear that it will, in an excellent speech at the event. But the Fed is not the only regulator to be thinking about these new players in the monetary system.

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