It is a great pleasure, and an honour, to be invited to speak to you today about Currencies, money and digital tokens, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the University of Basel Faculty of Business and Economics (WWZ) and the Vereinigung Basler Ökonomen (VBÖ). I congratulate you wholeheartedly on reaching this milestone. There is a long-standing and close association between the Swiss National Bank (SNB), on the one hand, and the WWZ and the University of Basel on the other. Many SNB economists were trained here and some of our staff regularly give lectures at the WWZ. I would like to thank the University of Basel and the organisers for inviting me to this special event. I am sure that the ties between our institutions will continue to be close for many years to come.
For central bankers, Basel is a special place. We regularly meet with our counterparts from all over the world at the headquarters of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), not far from the WWZ, to discuss the challenges facing us. These challenges have always revolved around monetary policy and financial stability. The increasing digitalisation of the financial sector opens up another area for discussion. Against this backdrop, the BIS announced a few months ago that it was launching an Innovation Hub. The aim of the Hub is to study technological developments with the potential to improve the functioning of financial markets and support central banks in fulfilling their mandates. Furthermore, it will provide a network for central banks to exchange knowledge on innovations. One of the Hub’s three regional centres will be in Switzerland, and will be operated jointly with the SNB.
The word ‘innovation’ brings me to the subject of my speech tonight.