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Bank of England still undecided about central bank digital currencies

Image by Matt Brown from Flickr

Sat, 14 Mar 2020, 08:38 am UTC

The Bank of England (BoE) is still weighing the pros and cons of introducing central bank digital currency (CBDC).

The BoE released a discussion paper titled “Central Bank Digital Currency: Opportunities, challenges and design.” In the report, the central bank recognizes the potential of CBDC but at this point, it remains undecided about the matter as it continues to weigh the benefits and disadvantages of having one.

“The Bank has not yet made a decision on whether to introduce CBDC, and intends to engage widely on the benefits, risks and practicalities of doing so. This discussion paper is part of that process,” the report read.

Based on the report, CBDC presents a number of opportunities to help BoE achieve its objectives of maintaining monetary and financial stability. The central bank recognizes that digital currencies could support a “more resilient payment landscape.” It can also make payments fast, efficient and reliable for households and businesses.

“It could help to meet future payments needs in a digital economy by enabling the private sector to create services that support greater choice for consumers. It could build on our ambitious renewal of the RTGS service and complement private sector initiatives to improve payments,” the report read.

“CBDC may also provide safer payment services than new forms of privately issued money‑like instruments, such as stablecoins. Ensuring that the public has continued access to a risk‑free form of money issued by the Bank may be especially important in the future, and help to address some of the consequences of a decline in the use of physical cash. Finally, a domestic CBDC might be an enabler of better cross-border payments in the future.”

The report also mentioned the risks and challenges that CBDC may bring. If significant deposit balances are moved from commercial banks into CBDC it could affect the balance sheets of commercial banks and BoE, the amount of credits provided by banks, and how banks implement monetary policy and support financial stability.

Meanwhile, BoE chief cashier Sarah John is optimistic about CBDC. She suggested that central banks consider digital currencies before tech giants dominate it.

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