A British ten pound sterling and five pound sterling note are arranged in a photograph in London.Photo: Justin Tallis (Getty Images)
The Bank of England and the UK’s Treasury have launched a task force to explore the use of a national digital currency, the British government announced in several press releases early Monday as part of April 2021 Fintech Week.
The task force, formally known as the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Taskforce, will examine the pros and cons of issuing a new digital form of money that could be used by British consumers alongside cash. But the government is quick to note it hasn’t yet reached a final decision about issuing a digital currency that would potentially compete with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether.
The British government and Bank of England laid out four primary points of interest and goals for the task force, including:
- Coordinate exploration of the objectives, use cases, opportunities and risks of a potential UK CBDC.
- Guide evaluation of the design features a CBDC must display to achieve our goals.
- Support a rigorous, coherent and comprehensive assessment of the overall case for a UK CBDC.
- Monitor international CBDC developments to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of global innovation.
The new task force will be led by the Deputy Governor for Financial Stability at the Bank of England, Jon Cunliffe, and HM Treasury’s Director General of Financial Services, Katharine Braddick, according to a press release.
The announcement comes as several other central banks around the world have announced similar investigations into digital currencies, including China and Japan. The press release notes the new task force will be keeping a close eye on international developments, which seems to be where most central banks are sitting at the moment.
Everyone wants to be ready for the future, but very few people want to go first. Especially when so much is at stake. If you’re going to issue currency, it needs to work in a way that won’t completely collapse the global financial system—a house of cards that only works because enough people believe that it works.
Best of luck to everyone! Please don’t ruin society as we know it!