Does the U.S. Need a National Digital Currency?

Proponents say payments with a digital dollar would be faster and easier. Opponents say it would be costly and inefficient.

The nature of money is changing, and central banks around the world are debating whether they need to change with it.

As electronic payments take off and private cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin seek to gain traction, governments are exploring whether to issue digital versions of their national currencies that could be used as a universal form of payment in the way physical cash is today. These conversations gained urgency for some last year when Facebook Inc. announced plans to launch a cryptocurrency called libra, sparking...