Eswar Prasad is the Tolani Senior Professor of Trade Policy at Cornell University. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, where he holds the New Century Chair in International Economics, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was previously chief of the Financial Studies Division in the International Monetary Fund's Research Department and, before that, was the head of the IMF's China Division.
Prasad is the author of the book The Future of Money: How the Digital Revolution is Transforming Currencies and Finance (Harvard, 2021) which was named one of the best economics and business books of 2021 by The Economist. He is also the author of Gaining Currency: The Rise of the Renminbi (Oxford, 2016) and The Dollar Trap: How the U.S. Dollar Tightened Its Grip on Global Finance (Princeton, 2014). Prasad has testified before the Senate Finance Committee, the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services, and the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. He is the creator of the Brookings-Financial Times world economy index (TIGER: Tracking Indices for the Global Economic Recovery). His op-ed articles have appeared in the Financial Times, Foreign Policy, Harvard Business Review, International Herald Tribune, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.
Fintech and digital currencies
Prasad offers a cutting-edge look at how accelerating financial change, from the end of cash to the rise of cryptocurrencies, will transform economies for better and worse. He shows how the world of finance is at the threshold of major disruption that will affect corporations, bankers, states, and indeed all of us. Above all, Prasad foresees the end of physical cash as central banks are being spurred by the emergence of cryptocurrencies to develop their own, more stable digital currencies. Meanwhile, cryptocurrencies themselves will evolve unpredictably as global corporations like Facebook and Amazon join the game. The changes will be accompanied by snowballing innovations, including Decentralized Finance (DeFi), that are reshaping finance and have already begun to revolutionize how we invest, trade, insure, and manage risk. These and other changes will redefine the very concept of money, unbundling its traditional functions as a unit of account, medium of exchange, and store of value. The promise lies in greater efficiency and flexibility, increased sensitivity to the needs of diverse consumers, and improved market access for the unbanked. The risk is instability, lack of accountability, and erosion of privacy.
Prasad has conducted extensive research on capital flows and currencies, with a special focus on emerging markets. He is a well-recognized expert on diverse aspects of the current state and future prospects of the international monetary system. In particular, he has written extensively on the U.S. dollar’s status as a global reserve currency and about potential threats to the dollar’s preeminence from the rise of the Chinese renminbi as well as economic and political developments in the United States.
With his vast research expertise, coupled with his experience as the former head of the IMF’s China division, Prasad offers deep and novel insights into the outlook for China’s economy and its ongoing transformation as the government tries to balance multiple economic and social objectives. Prasad’s deep knowledge of Chinese financial markets, including the opportunities they offer and the many risks that they are subject to, will be valuable to investors. He also has a comprehensive understanding of developments and policies related to capital flows, currency management, and financial regulation.
The Future of Money: How the Digital Revolution Is Transforming Currencies and Finance
A cutting-edge look at how accelerating financial change, from the end of cash to the rise of cryptocurrencies, will transform economies for better and worse.
The Dollar Trap: How the U.S. Dollar Tightened Its Grip on Global Finance
Why the dollar is—and will remain—the dominant global currency