Thomas MacaulaySenior reporter
Thomas is a senior reporter at TNW. He covers European tech, with a focus on deeptech, startups, and government policy. Thomas is a senior reporter at TNW. He covers European tech, with a focus on deeptech, startups, and government policy.
The UK has joined the list of countries considering the creation of a central bank digital currency (CBDC).
Chancellor Rishi Sunak today announced a new task force that will explore the value of a CBDC, which would be issued by the Bank of England and used by households and businesses. It would exist alongside cash and bank deposits, rather than replace them.
Sunak (jokingly?) suggested the digital currency could be called “Britcoin.” Urgh.
Britcoin? #UKFW21 https://t.co/Slk5lwUvrV
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) April 19, 2021
In a statement, the Bank of England said the task force will assess the objectives, use cases, opportunities, risks, and design features of a CBDC. It will also monitor international developments “to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of global innovation.”
[Read: The biggest tech trends of 2021, according to 3 founders]
The dwindling use of cash and rise of cryptocurrencies has led a growing range of countries to investigate digital currencies. About 86% of central banks are exploring the benefits and drawbacks of CBDCs, according to the World Economic Forum.
The UK announced its plan amid growing concerns about the impact of Brexit on the UK’s financial sector. In February, Amsterdam ousted London as Europe’s largest share trading center.
While a Britcoin isn’t likely to arrest the plunge, it will at least give the country’s flag-shaggers a patriotic distraction from the turmoil.
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