Yesterday the chairman of NatWest bank Howard Davies said that he expects Britain to be piloting a central bank digital currency (CBDC) within a few years, according to a Reuters report,
“I suspect that within three to five years we will see that operating in the UK on a sort of pilot basis to start with,” Davies revealed at a Bloomberg event.
The Bank of England (BoE) has yet to decide on whether to go ahead with a digital version of the pound.
“I don’t think the Bank of England and the UK is behind on this issue,” added the Bank of England’s Governor, Andrew Bailey, at the same event.
This comes after William Lovell, Head of Future Technologies at the BoE, shared his views on the potential for a CBDC two weeks ago. According to Lovell, much of the demand for digital cash in the UK would stem from online and retail purchases, and could even be an attractive way for companies to make payroll.
Meanwhile, the beginning of this month also saw the launch of Project Fire, an initiative conducted by the consulting firm Everis exploring the use of hardware wallets for a tokenized CBDC. Other participants include the Bank of England, University College London (UCL) and the University of Edinburgh.
Earlier this year, the Bank of England and HM Treasury created a task force to explore a UK CBDC. In June, the central bank unveiled a paper about new forms of money, including stablecoins and CBDC. It sought feedback by September 7, so it’s likely to share results soon.