HM Treasury Seeking Head of CBDC as UK Moves Closer to the Digital Pound
On January 24th, HM Treasury created a job posting on LinkedIn seeking to hire a “head of central bank digital currency”. The United Kingdom has been exploring the possibility of a digital pound since at least 2020 and will launch a consultation on a CBDC in the near future.
UK Looking for Head of CBDC
According to the post on Linkedin, HM Treasury, the UK government’s economic and finance ministry is looking to fill the role of head of CBDCs. The position will involve leading the exploration and development of the country’s central bank digital currency in close collaboration with the CBDC Taskforce, and the Bank of England.
The successful candidate will be responsible for leadership of HM Treasury’s work on a potential digital pound – a UK central bank digital currency (CBDC). This work is important, complex and cross-cutting, and the leadership will involve extensive engagement across and beyond HM Treasury. Digital innovation is changing the landscape for payments and money. The use of physical money is declining while new forms of private sector digital money are emerging. These changes offer exciting opportunities for UK businesses and consumers, but also present new challenges and risks.
Already in early 2020, it was reported that the Bank of England would start exploring the use-case of a Central Bank Digital Currency in collaboration with other central banks from around the globe. More recently it was announced that Britain’s finance ministry is planning to launch a public consultation on the digital pound.
In January 2023, Andrew Griffith, Britain’s Financial Services Minister said that the current priority for the country’s CBDC is getting the design right. According to the minister, he “would rather be right than be first” and the consultation will answer the question of if, and not of when.
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More Than 100 Countries Worldwide Working on a CBDC
Interest in the potential issuance of central bank digital currencies has been on the rise and by early 2023, around 100 countries across the globe are in some stage of exploring and developing CBDCs. According to publicly-available data, all of the G7 economies, and 18 from the ranks of the G20 have started development.
Last week, the Bank of Spain greenlit a project it is hoping would become the “embryo” of the planned digital euro. The project would entail the issuance of a token fully interchangeable with the euro to a group of select individuals in the preliminary phase before being hopefully authorized for testing by the general public.
Unlike Britain, China. Nigeria, and the Bahamas have been quick to launch their national digital currencies. The Bahamas became the true pioneer in the field already in 2020 when it adopted its sand dollar, while China’s digital yuan is the most widely-used CBDC in the world, though around one-third of the currency’s traffic is still in the technology hub of Shenzhen.
Do you think the UK will start testing the digital pound before the end of 2023? Let us know in the comments below.