Lazard CEO Kenneth M. Jacobs recently had a few words to say about the state of foreign policy in the United States. He stated that the view of the U.S. toward foreign policy and international trade is a threat to the strength of the U.S. dollar as the world’s preferred reserve currency, and observes that crypto will only further weaken the dollar’s position.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Jacobs said, “To the extent that we have unilateral foreign policy and unilateral trade policy, we’re sort of tempting the world to find an alternative. Probably the greatest demonstration of soft power is the fact that the U.S. has the reserve currency of the world.”
While it may not occur in the near-term, he feels that it’s something that needs to be monitored. He added, “[There’s] enough technology out in the world today with cryptocurrency and changes going on that you can imagine, if you let your mind wander a little bit, that something becomes an alternative in the future.”
The U.S. dollar, for the past 70-plus years, has been the go-to reserve currency for countries around the world. This facilitates international transactions and trade and was implemented as a result of the Bretton Woods accord of 1944. The accord allows national banks to issue their own fiat in the form of “IOUs,” and then to repurchase them using the reserve currency.
In recent times, the euro and the Japanese yen have gained significant strength and are competing with the U.S. dollar for the status of the world’s reserve currency. They also share the trait with China, which saw the yuan listed as a global reserve currency by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) three years ago.
John Hardy, head of foreign exchange strategy for Saxo Bank, said in 2017 that there are three major geopolitical issues that are putting strain on the U.S. dollar as the global reserve currency. He pointed to the rise of China in international trade and finances, the relationship between the U.S. and China as a result of the North Korean conflict and a weakened trade pact between the U.S. and Europe that could see the European Union become a world superpower.
When cryptocurrency does become mainstream, which can happen in as little as five years from now, it will be the catalyst for an important shift in the global monetary system. It could also redefine international power. To that end, it would be extremely beneficial for governments and industries to invest more resources into cryptocurrencies and emerging blockchain technologies.
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