The top reads of 2020
Boston Fed favorites cover the digital dollar, pandemic problems, news up north
The pandemic dominated 2020, but there were plenty of additional things to write about at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston – from racism and the economy to some news up north. As 2020 ends, we’re taking our annual look back at some of the year's most popular reads. They are below in no particular order:
Summary: What would it take to build a U.S.-backed digital currency that has the speed, security, privacy, and resiliency needed to be money for the world’s largest economy? That’s what a team of Federal Reserve Bank of Boston researchers is working to find out.
Quote: “When you’re dealing with something as high stakes as the U.S. dollar, you can’t break it. Part of the great success of the U.S. technology sector has been its ability to ‘move fast and break things,’ ideally at fairly low stakes. Within something as important as the U.S. dollar, we need to move fast, but deliberately, because this is the highest possible stakes.” – Boston Fed Assistant Vice President Bob Bench
Summary: Non-stop mask wear has caused serious ear discomfort for essential workers during the pandemic. But lucky for them, Boston Fed employee Mike Holbrook and his 12-year-old son, Harrison, foresaw the problem and researched a solution – mask extenders.
Quote: “They are a godsend. These things are so popular. … Oh, my gosh. It’s the best thing that’s happened to me all week.” – essential worker Lisa Perlini, head of Cash Services at the Boston Fed
Summary: The child care sector was struggling long before COVID-19 hit, and experts say the pressures caused by the virus are continuing to chip away at its fragile foundation – despite hopes the crisis might actually prompt improvement.
Quote: “We know how to fix child care, people have been studying this for years. There’s one way, and that’s with more money. Without increased investment, the sector is at risk.” – Beth Mattingly, assistant vice president, Regional & Community Outreach
Summary: Four Vermont community teams were awarded three-year, $300,000 grants as part of the Boston Fed’s Working Communities Challenge program. The grants will support residents as they tackle specific challenges, from lowering poverty and unemployment to amplifying diverse voices in decision-making.
Quote: “These are our friends and our neighbors, and we need to be able to provide them not only resources but, maybe more importantly, hope,” Bob Flint, Springfield, Vt., resident and WCC team participant
Summary: The presidents of three Fed Banks created a virtual, multi-event conference on the historic roots and toll of a structural racism that, they said, continues to drag down the economy and devastate lives.
Quote: “The reason we’re having this series with Atlanta, and Boston, and Minneapolis coming together is I think we recognize we have a role to play. And it’s not OK for us to say, ‘Hey, it’s somebody else’s problem.’” – Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari
Summary: An initiative launched by the Boston Fed and the Maine governor’s office aims to boost prosperity for lower income residents and connect people across social, economic, and geographic divides.
Quote: “Normal citizens will be thinking about how we can do things differently, and better, and uplift the communities.” – Maine Gov. Janet Mills