As a rule, I’m loath to suggest more regulations on anything. But in this case, I really think it would make the currencies more stable and by definition, less volatile.
I’m writing this piece on the airplane as I travel back to the states after two weeks in Belgium and the Netherlands. There were only a few occasions, namely grocery stores, where I was able to buy something with euros, the form of money in the European Union, or EU. It was shocking, really. Nearly every purchase required an EU pin or debit type card or a credit card — from parking meters, to restaurants, to souvenir shops, to museums, to gas stations, to geez, the ice cream cart on the sidewalk. I suppose it started with COVID and the necessity of limiting anything passed between people that could be a carrier of the virus, including currency.
The problem I kept running into was the difficulty in using American credit cards and debit cards. That’s why I tried getting euros in the first place, which are hard to get. I unsuccessfully went to a bank to get my dollars converted into euros. It turns out that the banks in the Netherlands don’t carry money anymore. Let me repeat that, the banks don’t carry money. You have to go to an ATM and do a withdrawal from your U.S. debit card for a very high fee and lousy exchange rate. I don’t know why I bothered. I had almost all of my euros left over when I returned home.
For now at least, the Netherlands has opened up and people aren’t wearing masks anymore, even on the trains, but they still won’t accept euros. I think perhaps the government started with the pandemic limitations and realized that pin and credit cards make tracing purchases a whole lot easier and were able to cut out the shopkeeper or vendor from putting two euro out of every five in their pocket. The end result is that currency has become almost entirely digital in the Netherlands.
Which brings me to cryptocurrencies which are digital money. With various cryptocurrencies collapsing and the outrageous price volatility of the others, establishing some consistent regulations would be incredibly helpful. States already regulate cryptocurrencies, but all the regulations are different depending on the state. There is no federal regulation and there needs to be. If nothing else, regulations…