The Bank of England (BoE) has published a job advertisement for a senior expert on central bank digital currencies (CBDC) to lead the bank’s thinking on the feasibility, design, and implementation of a CBDC.
The announcement is the latest in a series of similar recent postings, all related to CBDCs, and represents active steps taken by the British government and the BoE to explore the viability of a centralized digital currency.
More than 60 countries are currently experimenting with CBDC technology, a digital version of a country’s fiat and different from other forms of cryptocurrencies in that they are backed by a central bank.
CBDCs are gaining traction
According to a recent report by global consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, retail CBDC projects are at a more advanced stage in emerging economies, mainly in Asia. In April 2020, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) became the first major bank to launch experiments in a digital currency and is believed to be the most advanced CBDC project to date.
India, which considered banning private cryptocurrencies, announced that it was mulling over implementing its own CBDC. Similarly, the Central Bank of Brazil stated that it was expecting to issue a CBDC for mass circulation by 2022.
Within the region, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said that a digital currency for the European Union could potentially be rolled out by 2022. In March 2021, representatives from regulatory bodies in the United States and the European Union met to discuss the viability of adopting stablecoins and CBDCs.
A dedicated taskforce
Earlier this month, the UK and the BoE launched a new taskforce and a dedicated CBDC unit to assess the “benefits, risks, and practicalities” of a central bank currency.
The BoE’s immediate priorities appear to be centered around understanding the opportunities and harms of a CBDC, deliberating on partnerships, and developing a functional CBDC design for widespread adoption.
Elements within the British government appear to remain skeptical of embracing a CBDC too quickly. To date, no decision has been made on the formal introduction of a CBDC in the UK.