UK considers new ‘Britcoin’ digital currency

Apr 21, 2021

The Treasury and Bank of England (BoE) have formed a joint taskforce to examine whether to create a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

In a statement released earlier this week, the BoE said any new form of digital asset would not replace cash and bank deposits, but exist alongside them.

CBDCs are inspired by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but are digital versions of a flat currency, money issued by the Government that is not backed by a commodity such as gold, including the pound.

The joint taskforce will be headed by the BoE's deputy governor Jon Cunliffe and the Treasury's Katharine Braddick.

It will gather information on the technological and non-technical intricacies of building a CBDC in two forums with stakeholders, financial institutions, civil society groups, FinTechs and academia.

The taskforce will also explore "objectives, use cases, opportunities and risks of a potential UK CBDC", according to the BoE.

The UK's possible CBDC currently has no name, but Chancellor Rishi Sunak used the term 'Britcoin' in a reply to a tweet from the Treasury announcing the CBDC taskforce.

The Government and BoE have made no decision on whether to release a CBDC into the UK economy as of yet.

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