Cash vs. Code: UK Weighs Future of Money with Digital Pound

Digital pound on hold: UK authorities delay decision but promise continued exploration and design efforts.

A man holding one crypto coin, covering his eyes in gloomy London.
Created by Kornelija Poderskytė from DailyCoin
  • The BoE and UK Treasury have been in a decision-making process regarding introducing a digital pound.
  • The response to the consultation has explicitly stated that a digital pound would not replace physical currency.
  • Privacy and trust have taken center stage as the joint response addresses concerns.

Whether the UK will enter the digital currency era remains unanswered, with the Bank of England and UK Treasury announcing they need more time to decide on the feasibility of a digital pound. 

BoE & UK Treasury Update on CBDC

While a final verdict is still years away, the institutions released a response to last year’s consultation, outlining their ongoing research and design efforts and addressing key concerns like privacy and cash displacement.

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While acknowledging the potential benefits of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in a rapidly digitizing economy, the joint response emphasized the need for further exploration.

"It is too early to make a decision now on whether to introduce a digital pound because that will depend on how the retail payments landscape evolves in coming years, both in the UK and abroad." the statement read, highlighting the importance that: “a digital pound is likely to be needed in the future to safeguard the UK economy against risks to uniformity and competition in payments."

Privacy and trust were addressed head-on, with the assurance that new legislation would be implemented before any potential launch. The response clarified that neither the Bank nor the Treasury could access individual user data, aiming to build public trust in the proposed system.

Coexisting with Cash, Not Replacing It

Cash, however, seems secure. The response explicitly assured citizens that “A digital pound would not replace cash” but rather offer an additional payment option. Existing banknotes and coins will remain available for those who prefer them.

The consultation attracted over 50,000 responses and provided valuable insights into the public’s perspectives on a digital pound. The overwhelming theme focused on broader societal implications, including the future of cash and user privacy.

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While the final decision remains pending, the Bank and Treasury are actively exploring a potential CBDC’s design, with retail and wholesale options under consideration. However, any potential launch would occur no earlier than 2025, leaving ample time for further research, public engagement, and legislative development.

On the Flipside

  • Introducing a digital pound might inadvertently exclude segments of the population with limited technological access, creating a financial disparity rather than promoting inclusivity.
  • The shift towards digital currencies could reduce the usage of traditional financial institutions, impacting the banking sector’s stability.

Why This Matters

The cautious approach reflects the complexity of introducing a digital currency. While public interest is high, ensuring its success requires careful planning and consideration of potential risks. The BoE and Treasury’s ongoing research paves the way for a more informed decision in the future.

To learn more about how Coinbase is navigating stringent regulations in the UK and cooperating with the FCA, read here:
Coinbase UK Shows Full Cooperation to FCA’s Stringent Rules

To explore the perspectives of UK users on the value of FCA crypto competency test, read here:
Is FCA’s Crypto Competency Test Valuable? UK Users Say No

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Author
Kyle Calvert

Kyle Calvert is a cryptocurrency news reporter for DailyCoin, specializing in Ripple, stablecoins, as well as price and market analysis news. Before his current role, Kyle worked as a student researcher in the cryptocurrency industry, gaining an understanding of how digital currencies work, their potential uses, and their impact on the economy and society. He completed his Masters and Honors degrees in Blockchain Technology within Esports and Business and Event management within Esports at Staffordshire University.