Personal Wealth Management / Expert Commentary

Ken Fisher on Central Banks' Plan to Adopt Digital Currency

Fisher Investments’ founder, Executive Chairman and Co-Chief Investment Officer Ken Fisher shares his thoughts on the possibility of central banks creating digital currencies. Ken says some of the fears surrounding central bank digital currencies—such as the government using digital currency to spy on citizens—are misguided and that a digital currency is simply the next phase in the evolution of money.

Ken points out that the US government can already access a person’s information and bank transactions if it wants, but they have no reason to in most instances. He also thinks any potential central bank digital currency will be elective, similar to every previous evolution of money, and not forced on people that don’t want to use it. Overall, Ken believes technology has made money easier to use—an economic positive—and shouldn’t pose any broad issues for society.

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Ken Fisher: So, there's been a lot of hoopla about digital currencies, and I think a lot of this is misguided. Particularly the concern has been about central bank created digital currencies. The way I would have you see this is, there has been an irregular, steady progression going on for hundreds of years as monies have evolved. All money is—all money is— is something that we use to facilitate the buying or selling of things or services, somehow, someway. Nothing else. It has no other real significance and it changes over time for that.

One of the reasons that people are so concerned about government created digital currency, as if paper currency wasn't government created, is the notion that they can spy on you and your transactions and know what you're doing. And in that regard, invade, be invasive, control, all that stuff. Now, the fact of the matter is, if they want to do that, they can pretty much already do it anyway.

Once upon a time, money was hard coin and hard coin only. And the hard coin often was then inflated by governments making cheaper coins with less metal in them, less precious metal in them, diluting it. Then we got to paper currency. We evolved into a world that had checks, paper checks that we wrote. And when I'm a young guy, credit cards were first starting to come along. But if my mother and father wanted to buy something at the store, they paid cash or they wrote a check. Then later on, when I'm a young man, I'm using credit cards a lot. And I still use credit cards. And nowadays people will pull out something like this and they'll pay for something with an app. That is a digital currency.

The fact is we are digitizing almost everything we do in our culture that doesn't require a hard physical item. And the digitization works because everything about technology has made things digital, cheaper and easier to use and to deploy than otherwise.

The reality is, if the government wants to right now, they can spy on you anyway. And if you haven't thought that through, you might look into that. They can call up any records you want. They can access your bank transactions. They can do that without you knowing it. If you think you can hide in this world from the United States government, you've got another thing coming. The reality is mostly, and I don't mean this to be insulting to you personally, but mostly they don't care about you and what you do, unless you create a problem for them, which mostly you don't. So they just kind of don't pay attention. And that'll be the same with central bank digital currencies. Which won't be forced upon you, be elective upon you and people have a hard time with that.

We will continue to have monies evolve, some more successful than others, some succeeding and some failing. And these efforts are not forces. They're elective, which don't really cause a problem for you.

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A series of disclosures appears on the screen “Investing in Securities involves a risk of loss. Past performance is never a guarantee of future returns. Investing in foreign stock markets involves additional risks, such as the risk of currency fluctuations. The foregoing constitutes the general views of Fisher Investments and should not be regarded as personalized investment advice or a reflection of the performance of Fisher Investments or its clients. Nothing herein is intended to be a recommendation or a forecast of market conditions. Rather it is intended to illustrate a point. Current and future markets may differ significantly from those illustrated here. Not all past forecasts were, nor future forecasts may be, as accurate as those predicted herein.”

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