The Bank of England (BoE) is reportedly planning to hire a team of up to 30 people to work on a central bank digital currency (CBDC), according to the Sunday Times. A CBDC is a new form of digital money that would be issued and backed by the central bank, and could be used by households and businesses alongside cash and bank deposits.
The BoE has not yet decided whether to introduce a CBDC, but it has been exploring the idea since 2015. In April 2021, it announced that it was setting up a taskforce with the Treasury to look at the risks and opportunities involved in creating a digital pound. The taskforce will also monitor international developments and coordinate with other UK authorities on regulatory and design issues.
According to the Sunday Times, the BoE is looking for candidates with various skills and backgrounds, such as security, solutions architecture, policy, economics and law. Some of the positions available include Digital Pound Security Architect and Digital Pound Solutions Architect. The BoE declined to comment on the report.
The BoE is not alone in its interest in CBDCs. Many central banks around the world are researching or experimenting with digital versions of their national currencies, as they face growing competition from cryptocurrencies and private payment platforms. China is leading the race, having launched a pilot program for its digital yuan in several cities since 2020. The European Central Bank, the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan are among other major central banks that are studying CBDCs.
CBDCs could offer several benefits, such as faster, cheaper and more secure payments, financial inclusion, monetary policy transmission and financial stability. However, they also pose significant challenges, such as privacy, cybersecurity, governance, legal and regulatory issues, as well as potential impacts on the banking system and the wider economy.
The BoE has said that any CBDC it might launch would be designed to complement rather than replace cash and bank deposits, and that it would support innovation and competition in the payment sector. It has also said that it would consult widely with stakeholders and the public before making any decision on a CBDC.