Burkhard Balz: Curtain up for the future of payments - from bigtechs and fintechs to smartphones and stablecoins

Speech by Mr Burkhard Balz, Member of the Executive Board of the Deutsche Bundesbank, at the Roundtable on Digitalisation, German Institute for Japanese Studies, Tokyo, 30 October 2019.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
30 October 2019


Ladies and gentlemen,
Professor Waldenberger,

Thank you very much for inviting me here to the German Institute for Japanese Studies in Tokyo. 

I have to admit that, compared with the metropolis of Tokyo, my place of work - Frankfurt - feels like a village, to say nothing of my hometown of Stadthagen west of Hanover in charming Lower Saxony.

Tokyo and Frankfurt, or rather Japan and Germany, are some 10,000 km - a 12-hour flight - apart, and they each have their own distinct culture with many special features. At the same time, our two countries share multiple ties and have a high degree of mutual appreciation. I also have the impression that the Japanese and Germans are not that dissimilar in many respects:

1) The Japanese are known for being very thorough and passionate about order, making them very similar to the Germans or even putting them one step ahead of us.

2) Many Japanese love beer. Just like we do -

3) And the Japanese have an affinity for cash - the same is not just said about the Germans, our payment behaviour studies provide research-based evidence of this. 

And yet, payment behaviour is being transformed by digitalisation, which brings me straight to the subject of my speech.