The UK central bank is stepping up its research on a central bank digital currency (CBDC) with the selection of a long list of banking and fintech experts to support it.
On September 29, the Bank of England announced membership of its CBDC engagement and technology forums, which include some big names in technology and finance, including Google, Mastercard, Consensys – and even Spotify.
This week’s announcement is a signal that the central bank is taking its CBDC plans seriously. It states that the technology forum will source resources from leading experts in digital payments and cryptocurrencies.
“The forum will help the bank understand the technological challenges in designing, implementing and operating a CBDC.”
The Engagement Forum includes “high-level industry, civil society and academia stakeholders” who will help the bank and the Treasury “understand the practical challenges of designing, implementing and operating a CBDC”.
Technology experts include PayPal’s chief technology officer for blockchain and cryptocurrency, Edwin Aoki. Will Drewry, Principal Software Engineer at Google, will join him, as will CBDC and Payments Manager Matthieu Saint Olive from Ethereum software solutions company ConsenSys.
The technology forum also includes executives and payment experts from Amazon Web Services, MasterCard, Visa, Stripe, IMB, R3 and the music streaming platform Spotify.
The Engagement Forum consists of bank managers and business experts, including Co-CEO of Global Banking and Markets at HSBC, Georges Elhedery, Morgan Stanley’s COO Arun Kohli and Stephen Gilderdale, Chief Product Officer for the interbank communication standard SWIFT.
Related: The British Chancellor names CBDC on the list of financial reforms for the Treasury
The Bank of England began preliminary research on CBDCs in November 2020, as reported by Cointelegraph. In April, the central bank published a list of job vacancies related to CBDC research and development.
It remains skeptical of cryptocurrencies, however, as Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey warned of the risks of trading cryptocurrencies in May, telling investors “only buy them if you are willing to lose all of your money” .