More policy makers have warmed to the experiment, even though sub-zero rates crimp the ability of banks to make money.The Bank of Japan rattled global markets by adopting negative rates in early 2016, more than 18 months after the European Central Bank became the first major monetary institution to venture below zero.If banks make more customers pay to hold their money, cash may go under the mattress or into a safe instead, robbing lenders of a crucial source of funding and perhaps even triggering a bank run.

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By mid-2016, some 500 million people in a quarter of the world's economies were living with rates in the red.

Unthinkable before the 2008 financial crisis, the idea is to jolt lending, spur inflation and reinvigorate the economy after other options are exhausted.

Almost three years into the experiment, it was still too early to proclaim negative rates a success, though central bankers say that so far the costs have been manageable.

If more and more central banks use negative rates as a stimulus tool, the policy might ultimately lead to a currency war of competitive devaluations.

Probably about the same level as Tom Cruise at the end of The Last Samurai.

Well, Ted was kinda freaked out, because he thought that Thousand Cranes was dropping L-Bombs on their second date.

The Bank for International Settlements warned in a 2016 report of “great uncertainty” if rates stay negative for a prolonged period.

However, the fact that such tools have now been tested means they’re likely here to stay.

In this upside-down world, borrowers get paid and savers penalized.

Crazy as it sounds, several of Europe’s central banks cut interest rates below zero in 2014, and then Japan followed.

"They walked in together just before the performance was starting, they looked great together, but no hand-holding or obvious PDA," an eye witness said.