A simple point made to me recently at a talk on digital currencies is this. There will come a point when comprehension that offering digital accounts with the central bank is possible becomes widespread. Then, the discussion about whether it should do so may change gear somewhat.
As of now, the proposal that central banks offer digital accounts to its population is couched in purely technocratic terms, as a device to i) circumvent the zero bound to interest rates, enforced by zero interest bearing cash; ii) head off the threat from private sector crypto-currencies; iii) implement narrow banking; iv) combat illicit economic activities (as part of an elimination of cash).
In the future, the discussion may revolve around whether or not such accounts, if they can be provided at relatively low cost, should not be a right of citizens.
Our social security and Tax IT systems demonstrate that the public sector can provide digital accounts [with a few glitches]. Central bank digital accounts could look very similar, but with the functionality of individuals being able to authorise transfers from one account holder to another.
Since this can be done, people may come to what justifies excluding all but the large elite financial institutions – those who happened to have caused society so much bother recently – from enjoyng the privilege of central bank accounts.
If public debate invaded this far into the privacy of central bank technicalities, it would be then but a short step to debating whether [like banks] individuals or non bank firms should be allowed to go overdrawn, drawing the state decisively into the business of retail credit allocation.