FStech’s “Future of Fintech” conference on June 17 was for Tom Mutton, fintech director of the Bank of England, the opportunity to review the prospects for digital currencies from this financial institution. An opportunity to discuss the BoE’s discussion paper on CBDCs as well as its technological perspectives.
The Bank of England, very optimistic
At first glance, Mutton stressed the need to prepare for the launch of a British Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). He also made no secret of his optimism for central bank digital currencies and did not overlook the importance of blockchain as a decentralized digital book of accounts. This is a first if you consider past public statements from the BoE. Very confident, the CTO of this financial institution affirmed that the digital fiat currency CBDC, a liability of the Bank of England, would be “the safest money around”.
His speech also made a distinction between the CBDC provided by existing private stablecoins and other types of private currencies. This emerging confidence comes, he said, from a capacity to convert private money (such as a bank deposit) into public money on demand. The central bank will occasionally observe an issue in the form of cash. In addition, there will be a better understanding of the uniformity and substitutability of different types of money.
CBDC, “yes” but with caution
The media recently echoed the growing concerns about the energy intensive nature of Bitcoin. As a result, the number of skeptics of blockchain technology has increased. Wanting to be reassuring, Tom Mutton ruled out the possibility of a CBDC issue by the Bank of England. He then urged his listeners to “Don’t throw out the blockchain baby with the Bitcoin bathwater”.
The conference given by this senior official Bank of England highlighted the reactions produced by the discussion paper on CBDCs, published in 2020. These suggested the need for vigilance, mentioned by technology and fintech companies as well as some financial institutions. And he added that any contributor to this document having addressed the need or not for a CBDC, required an in-depth study of the advantages and disadvantages of this digital currency of central banks. He did not hesitate to put forward the accumulation of evidence and the organization of an open consultation before drawing a conclusion.
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