Topic A: Cryptocurrencies
Recently, the global economy has seen the rise of a new phenomenon: cryptocurrencies. These are decentralized, digital currencies that are incredibly difficult to regulate because they are not connected to any nation’s banking system. The most common example of a cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, but other examples include Monero, Ethereum, Dogecoin, and Auroracoin. Many economists and politicians criticize cryptocurrencies for being unstable, as daily changes in value from 50-100% are not uncommon. Despite this volatility, every day, more money is invested in these digital markets. As cryptocurrencies become more mainstream, the questions of accessibility, regulation, and reliability need to be addressed by the international community. As one of the first major innovations in the way economies run since the development of modern banking, cryptocurrencies have the potential to fundamentally change the face of global trade and finance.
Topic B: Sustainable Development of Isolated Areas
A major element of the ECOFIN mandate is providing for the sustainable development of isolated populations, such as mountain, island, and desert communities well beyond the reach of major cities. While urban sprawls, global cities, and advanced technology have taken the economic spotlight over the last several years, these isolated areas either play a large part in the supply of natural resources or have largely untapped potential. Island communities play a major role the fishing industry and the maintaining of shipping lanes, while mountain communities are essential for providing freshwater to the world, and desert communities may become major centers of solar power within the next decade. Support of relevant industries, while also ensuring environmental sustainability and respecting local cultures, is imperative in all of these areas. For example, rising sea levels pose a threat to nearly every island community in the world, and desertification in isolated arid climates threatens to completely displace some desert populations. ECOFIN must create a unified, global framework for engaging with these remote peoples.