VezaTalks 037: Erwin Voloder


Stefan Katanic


Erwin Voloder

39:00 Min
Listen on:

1. Let's Meet Erwin

In the world of digital currencies and the rise of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), there are complex factors at play.

Meet Erwin Voloder, an esteemed economist who has established himself as a prominent figure in the blockchain space.

His journey began in 2016 when Veza CEO Stefan Katanic introduced him to the field.

Over the years, Erwin's focus shifted towards regulation, leading him to work as an economist for the European Commission and later the European Central Bank.

“Mental and physical sanity and focus will help you get through anything” -Erwin

In November, Erwin joined the European Blockchain Association as the Head of Policy, where he facilitates research and advocacy efforts between the Web3 community and public institutions, both within the European Union (EU) and globally.

2. Understanding Central Bank Digital Currencies

In the podcast, Erwin first clarifies that the term "central bank digital currency" serves as a broad classification encompassing different types of CBDCs.

These include direct CBDCs, where individuals hold an account directly with the central bank, indirect CBDCs with intermediaries facilitating account management, wholesale CBDCs designed for large-value transactions between financial institutions, and synthetic CBDCs like commercial bank money tokens.

He explained that China takes the lead in CBDC adoption, having launched its digital currency electronic payment (DCEP), known as the digital yuan.

The digital yuan seamlessly integrates into China's digital payments ecosystem, including platforms like Alipay and WeChat Pay.

Other countries such as Nigeria, The Bahamas, and Sweden have also made significant strides in exploring and implementing their own CBDCs.

Erwin explained that The European Union is actively researching and developing the digital euro, with plans to announce its implementation phase soon.

3. Geopolitical Implications & Challenges

The conversation delves into the potential benefits and risks associated with CBDCs.

Erwin highlights that programmable CBDCs could enable tracking of financial transactions for anti-money laundering and know-your-customer purposes.

They could also introduce political conditions for spending, such as restricting certain purchases.

However, the programmability of CBDCs, mainly through smart contracts, could be leveraged positively for the machine economy, IoT payments, and digital twin applications.

Challenges remain, including the digital divide and the need for widespread digital literacy to achieve a fully cashless society.

Final Thoughts

Erwin shares his insights into maintaining sanity and focus.

He expresses gratitude for his supportive partner, who plays a vital role in keeping him grounded.

Additionally, he emphasizes the importance of staying physically fit through activities like running and calisthenics.

Maintaining a healthy diet and managing caffeine intake are other key aspects.

The delicate balance between technological advancements and individual rights is highlighted, along with the significance of dialogue, managing expectations, and working towards a future where technology serves humanity positively.

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