Today marks the launch of the private sector Digital Pound Foundation (DPF) to explore new forms of digital money, including central bank digital currency (CBDC) and stablecoins. Inspired by the Digital Dollar Foundation, the association is part think tank, industry group as well as a practical sandbox.
Initially driven by a group of individuals, it has added several member companies active in the blockchain sector, including Accenture, Avalanche, Billon Group, CGI Group, Electroneum, Quant and Ripple, which are funding the organization through membership fees. The non profit group is chaired by Jeremy Wilson, former Barclays Deputy Chairman for Corporate Banking.
Apart from driving thought leadership, there’s a practical aspect that aims to create a UK ecosystem for new forms of money that’s innovative, inclusive and competitive. Those new forms of money include the spectrum from stablecoins to retail CBDC, but not cryptocurrencies.
The Bank of England recently set up technology and engagement forums for a CBDC. However, the Foundation has a slightly different agenda. Firstly the DPF is looking at the full spectrum of digital money, not just CBDC. And while the Foundation will want to engage with these forums, the Bank of England will drive the agenda. Whereas the independent DPF is free to explore different designs and, at a practical level, can kick off sandboxes.
We asked one of the originating members, Jannah Patchay, whether any banks would be joining. She said they’ve had extensive dialogue with banks because they want an inclusive group representing emerging e-money payments sector, fintech and incumbents. So watch this space.