An independent forum backed by the likes of Accenture, CGI Group and Ripple has launched to push for the implementation of a digital pound and digital money ecosystem.
Chaired by Barclays veteran Jeremy Wilson, the Digital Pound Foundation argues that the adoption a CBDC will underpin the UK’s transition to an “innovative, inclusive digital economy and society”.
Citing BIS research showing that 10% of central banks representing 20% of the world’s population are likely to issue a CBDC for the general public in the next three years, the foundation claims that a digital pound is vital to maintaining the UK’s leading position in fintech.
The foundation may be pushing at an open door: earlier in the Spring the UK Treasury launched a joint taskforce with the Bank of England to explore the case for introducing a Central Bank Digital Currency in the UK.
In June, BofE governor Andrew Bailey expressed his enthusiasm for the project: “I’m very encouraged by progress on that [CBDC] front and the fact that we are getting to grips with this critical innovation. If this comes to pass, it will be one of the most fundamental innovations in the history of central banking, it will move us into a new era.”
And last month the BofE and HM Treasury announced the membership their CBDC Engagement and Technology Forums, signing up a host of big names from across the UK’s financial services sector.
Wilson and his group of members with industry expertise will carry out research and advocacy as they push for an “inclusive, well-regulated, secure and transparent ecosystem that encompasses both CBDCs and privately-issued forms of digital money”.
Says Wilson: “Technology is transforming human interaction and money must adapt to that. The world has become a global laboratory realising the benefits of a new form of money. The social ramifications of this shift will affect everyone. The Digital Pound Foundation seeks to support the UK in bringing that about for the benefit of all.”
Accenture, Avalanche, Billon Group, CGI Group, Electroneum, Quant and Ripple are backing the effort as foundation and associate members.
Accenture is also heavily involved in a similar Digital Dollar Project, a not-for-profit to encourage research and public discussion about a CBDC in the US.