Austrian Conceptions of Money and the Rise of Digital Currency

Digitization leads us to rethink the basic phenomenology of money. This short note critically examines the relevance of (i) Menger’s explanation of money as a social institution of spontaneous order, (ii) Wieser’s hypothesis of the dematerialization of money, (iii) Schumpeter’s conception of money as a universal ledger of accounts, and finally, (iv) Hayek’s call for a system of competing private currencies – relating them to the current development of the increasing importance of digital money. The paper closes with a brief discussion of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) as a public response to the challenges posed by private digital currencies.