Although many people assumed the Britcoin project was dead ad buried, that is not necessarily the case. Interestingly, the option is not being pursued by the Bank of England or HM Treasury. Instead, a private initiative sees merit in pursuing this retail central bank digital currency.
Britcoin Might Come To Market After All
It is surprising to see a new initiative focus on the possibility of developing Britcoin. The retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) is the brainchild of HM Treasury and the Bank of England. However, either party seems inclined to explore this opportunity further under the current market circumstances. That doesn’t mean Britcoin will never exist, at least where Project New Era is considered.
The initiative led by The Payments Association and other private industry stakeholders wants to advance the CBDC conversation. A Green Paper has been put out to facilitate the development of real-world pilots. However, the team acknowledges certain aspects need to be improved upon, including design, risk mitigation, and more.
A private consortium backing a retail CBDC will always raise questions. Interestingly, they will not use Britcoin itself but rather use dSterling, a digital settlement asset sharing similarities with CBDCs. The primary objective is to test use cases – retail payments, cross-border transfers, etc – and how the dSterling can benefit payment institutions and electronic money issuers across the United Kingdom.
The Payments Association’s Director General Tony Craddock adds:
“The widespread adoption of CBDCs could be as important to the 21st century as the end of the gold standard was to the 20th. Because of the UK’s long-standing position at the forefront of global financial services we have an opportunity to take a leading role in the next generation of financial services. Our next step will be to build a larger stakeholder network from the public and private sector that will be key in building the pilot project.”
It is not the first time private players want to rekindle the Britcoin debate. An independent forum representing Accenture, CGI Group, Ripple, and others aimed to implement a digital pound and accompanying monetary system in 2021.