WHAT WE DO
Unit Directors: Massimo Amato & Luca Fantacci
Money is changing. Recent decades have witnessed the rise not only of innovative payments systems, but of new and diverse forms of money and exchange circuits. The proliferation of new currencies has been supported by technological innovation and has been driven by the desire to overcome the lack of liquidity experienced by certain areas or sectors of the economy and to reinforce the social bonds within communities (from restricted user communities to society at large). However, if they are not designed appropriately, monetary experiments run the risk of creating more problems than they intend to solve, and weaken rather than strengthen the communities that use them. Monetary innovation is thus a crucible of opportunities and threats, not only for financial institutions new and old, but also for the stability of the economic system as a whole.
The Observatory on Monetary Innovation, New Technologies, and Society (MINTS) explores the expanding universe of complementary and alternative currencies. Building on a thorough knowledge of monetary systems in historical and comparative perspective, the members of the MINTS Observatory study new currency systems, with a view to assessing their implications for economic growth, financial stability, and social inclusion. The field of enquiry may be roughly divided into two major areas: complementary currencies (encompassing mutual credit systems, community currencies, social vouchers and parallel currencies) and digital currencies (including cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, central bank digital currencies).