Former Goldman CFO breaks down why a digital dollar is better than bitcoin and stablecoins

Episode 26 of Season 2 of The Scoop was recorded remotely with The Block’s Frank Chaparro and R. Martin Chavez, a former Goldman Sachs executive and current Stanford professor who also sits on the boards of multiple fintech firms.

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R. Martin Chavez left his Goldman Sachs office in December after decades of work bringing new technology to Wall Street, most recently as Goldman's CFO, though his career began in Silicon Valley. Now, he's returned to the tech world, where he serves on the boards of health technology firms and has gotten involved in the conversation around the "digital dollar."

On this week's episode of The Scoop, Chavez broke down some of the changes that have occurred at the intersection of health and technology due to the global pandemic. For instance, a world in quarantine has breathed new life into the field of telemedicine. He also explained why although he sees bitcoin as "an amazing research project," it doesn't quite qualify as money in his view.

Chavez compared the coronavirus pandemic to the 2008 financial crisis, in that they are both wake up calls for policymakers. He said the pandemic has been a moment to examine how to build better systems, particularly in the health tech and industrial fields.

Meanwhile, it's also illuminated the potential role of a U.S. central bank digital currency as a mechanism for stimulus delivery. While Chavez advocated for a blockchain-based digital dollar, he doesn't think private stablecoins are a suitable stand-in. "Stablecoins are stable right up until the instant that they're not stable," he said. 


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Here are some of the more specific topics featured in the episode:

  • The themes and trends emerging in the health technology space that will be salient in a post COVID-19 world
  • How the pandemic illuminated the need for resilience in industrial companies and how technology can play a role in reform
  • What legislation is needed to reform industries that were hit hard, and how to prepare a more resilient supply chain
  • Why the former Wall Streeter and long time tech advocate says bitcoin isn't money
  • His view on central bank digital currencies and why stablecoins alone won't do the job of a digital dollar.

Listen to this week's episode on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, GooglePlay or wherever you listen to podcasts.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Aislinn Keely is a reporter on The Block's policy team holding down the legal beat. She covers court decisions, bankruptcies, regulatory actions and other key moments in the legal sphere, putting them in context for the wider crypto industry. Before The Block, she lent her voice to the NPR affiliate WFUV and helmed Fordham University's student newspaper. Send tips or thoughts on all things policy and legal to or follow her on Twitter for updates @AislinnKeely.