The Bank of England announced Wednesday that it has formed two third-party working groups that will provide collective input as the UK central bank pursues initiatives related to central bank digital currency (CBDC).
The central bank’s published lists include notables from the neobank and payments worlds, as well as several crypto-related companies. PayPal, Monzo, Starling, Checkout.com, ConsenSys, R3, Visa, and Mastercard are among the notable members in both the Engagement Forum and the Technology Forum.
The purpose of the Engagement Forum, according to the BoE, is to “gather strategic input on policy considerations and functional requirements pertaining to CBDC.” The Technology Forum, on the other hand, will “assist the Bank in understanding the technological challenges of designing, implementing, and operating a CBDC.”
The question of whether the Bank of England will pursue a CBDC definitively remains unanswered, despite the fact that the central bank has indicated through staff statements and papers that the subject is being seriously considered. This past spring, the BoE and HM Treasury formed a CBDC task force.
In some ways, the new forums will serve as a way for the BoE to gather feedback from the types of companies and stakeholders who could one day serve as a private-sector ecosystem in support of it.
Sir Jon Cunliffe, the Bank of England’s deputy governor for stability, stated in May that it “looks probable” that a U.K. CBDC would be launched, in the context of promoting the survival of so-called “public money” in the face of private competitors – a nod to the idea that stablecoins could see broader public use.