87% of C-suite executives expect business risks to increase as a result of changes to the global monetary system
MENLO PARK, Calif. and LONDON, November 6, 2023 – Executives expect a cashless future as soon as 2028 and are preparing to embrace a new, digital currency future, according to the results of a new survey global consulting firm Protiviti conducted in collaboration with the University of Oxford. The survey is part of the newest installment of VISION by Protiviti, the thought leadership series that focuses on the future of money through 2033 and beyond. An executive summary of the survey results is also available.
The survey found that executives are preparing for the extinction of paper and coin money. Nearly a third of executives expect this shift to happen in the next five years, and 85% of executives expect it will happen within a decade. Leaders know that this shift will change the global economy permanently and, in turn, how businesses operate. Most business leaders (87%) are anticipating that digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Tether will have an impact on their business over the next 10 years, but the scale of its impact is still uncertain.
“Every business should be thinking about the future of money and the implications for their operations,” said Cory Gunderson, Protiviti executive vice president, Global Solutions. “While it’s easy to take for granted, the transition to a cashless society and the ongoing transformation of the global monetary system could cause significant disruptions for business operations worldwide. Leaders need to be thinking of ways to get ahead of the curve and prepare for the unknowns so that they can best serve their customers and clients. Now is the time to start planning for these shifts.”
Digital Currency Poses Risks, Executives Are Prepared
A transition from cash to digital currencies poses risks: 88% of executives say they expect at least a moderate increased business risk to accompany changes to the monetary system, and about half of those quantified the risk as moderate.
When it comes to the specific risks, customer and client privacy comes to mind for most executives. An overwhelming majority (89%) of business leaders say they are concerned about their ability to protect customer and client data in a digital currency-based future. With new technologies expected in the next 10 years to help secure data and decrease fraud and financial crime, there is a potential for lowered risk, but 61% of executives still say that they expect that crime, fraud and corruption will be prevalent in financial transactions over the next 10 years, raising concern for both businesses and their customers.
“While digital currencies offer the promise of improving access to and lowering the cost of global money transfers, much more work remains to be done from a fraud and security standpoint to increase user confidence,” said Mike Brauneis, Protiviti’s global financial services industry leader. “Contrast crypto transfers to mainstream banking and credit card transactions, which benefit from decades of development in regulatory frameworks and insurance schemes that limit consumers’ liability for unauthorized transactions. Price volatility in many digital assets has created a further barrier to adoption as a reliable store of value. Although there are many promising innovation efforts underway to address all these challenges, we think the lack of global regulatory coordination in this area is going to extend the timeline for solving them.”
Despite the fact that extinction of paper money will likely disrupt traditional financial systems, two-thirds (64%) of executives are comfortable embracing digital currencies in the future, and the same number of all global executives say that their companies are somewhat prepared for a significant disruption in monetary policies and structures.
Executives Are Still Confident in the U.S. Dollar
One risk that executives are not worried about is a change in the world’s reserve currency. Nearly four in five (79%) of respondents believe that the U.S. dollar will still be the world’s dominant medium in 10 years’ time. The shift to a cashless society will uproot the global monetary system, but the U.S. dollar is expected to provide ongoing stability.
Although innovative digital tools including blockchain and NFT are gaining popularity as a method to reduce risks, emerging digital currencies do not hold the same weight with business executives. When asked what currency might replace the U.S. dollar, the majority of executives (58%) opted for the euro, while less than 5% selected Bitcoin.
“I think it's safe to say the U.S. dollar is here to stay for the foreseeable future, at least according to the global business leaders we surveyed," said Dr. Vlad Mykhnenko, Associate Professor at the University of Oxford, and co-author of the report. "As the survey findings show, new, digitized currencies will continue to gain popularity, but executives remain extremely confident the dollar will remain the world's reserve currency over the next decade."
The study surveyed 251 board members, C-suite executives and other business leaders across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific about the future of money, currency and value exchange. Survey data was collected between July and September 2023.
More information about this survey will be discussed at a webinar, “Exploring an Uncertain Future of Money,” on Wednesday, November 15, 2023. More information and registration information is here.
Learn More About the Future of Money – 2033 and Beyond
The survey report, “Executive Outlook on the Future of Money 2033 and Beyond” is available for complimentary download at VISION by Protiviti. The site also features additional content developed by Protiviti around the future of money, including:
- Will the end of cash mean the end of privacy, too? The Economist’s Swarup Gupta explains
- Cash out: Why execs need to stay vested in digital currency developments around the globe
- Former Charles Schwab Investment Management CEO Evelyn Dilsaver talks AI, crypto and future of financial services
- The future is digital but fraud, volatility could cripple crypto, says Allianz Trade executive
About The University of Oxford
Established in 2018, the Global Centre on Healthcare and Urbanisation (GCHU) at Kellogg College, University of Oxford, brings together leading and influential thinkers in an interdisciplinary approach embracing evidence-based healthcare, sustainable urban development, and education, and provides a collaborative forum for organisations active in these disciplines. The GCHU asks vital questions on the role of cities in healthcare and wellbeing to better understand the impact and consequences of urbanisation, trains and informs the next leaders in healthcare and urbanisation to nurture the highest standards, and undertakes research and scholarship at the intersection of healthcare and urbanisation to inform recommendations for future practice.
Protiviti (www.protiviti.com) is a global consulting firm that delivers deep expertise, objective insights, a tailored approach and unparalleled collaboration to help leaders confidently face the future. Protiviti and our independent and locally owned Member Firms provide clients with consulting and managed solutions in finance, technology, operations, data, analytics, digital, legal, HR, governance, risk and internal audit through our network of more than 85 offices in over 25 countries.
Named to the 2023 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® list, Protiviti has served more than 80 percent of Fortune 100 and nearly 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies. The firm also works with smaller, growing companies, including those looking to go public, as well as with government agencies. Protiviti is a wholly owned subsidiary of Robert Half (NYSE: RHI). Founded in 1948, Robert Half is a member of the S&P 500 index.