UK said British businesses and consumers are likely to get a digital version of the pound while asking public for their opinion on the idea of introducing a central bank digital currency.
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“While cash is here to stay, a digital pound issued and backed by the Bank of England could be a new way to pay that’s trusted, accessible and easy to use,” Treasury chief Jeremy Hunt said, adding, “That’s why we want to investigate what is possible first, whilst always making sure we protect financial stability.”
Seeking public input comes after Treasury and the Bank of England announced two years ago that they were considering introducing a digital currency.
UK prime minister Rishi Sunak said that the initiative could be named “Britcoin” when he was Treasury chief, although the Bank of England stressed that the currency shouldn’t be confused with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. The new currency would be “reliable and retain its value over time,” in contrast to cryptocurrencies that can fluctuate, the Bank of England said on its website.
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The bank also said that the proposed digital currency would be denominated in pounds, with 10 pounds of digital currency always equal to a 10-pound note and will be held in a digital wallet. It can be used to pay for goods and services electronically, it informed.
Meanwhile, former Bank of England governor Mervyn King said that a digital pound would have “risks but no obvious benefits.
“The government has said that it wants the UK to be at the forefront of innovation, crypto-assets and fintech, but we need to be selective and not driven by a misplaced enthusiasm for all things crypto,” he said.