“Save Privacy Stop CBDCs” UK Advocacy Group Launches Anti-Britcoin Campaign
On Tuesday, February 14th, the Tax Reform Council, a UK think tank and advocacy group, launched an anti-CBDC initiative through its “cut my tax campaign”. The group believes that the introduction of a central bank digital currency would constitute “an unprecedented incursion by tax authorities.”
UK Advocacy Group Launched Anti-CBDC Campaign
As the UK Central Bank moves closer and closer to the creation of a digital pound, not everyone appears to be happy about the possible introduction of a national central-bank digital currency. Tax Reform Council, an advisory board with multiple professors and economists from across the United Kingdom, announced on Tuesday the launch of an anti-CBDC campaign.
The initiative, run through the “cut my tax” project, believes that the introduction of the digital pound—or any other CBDC—would represent “an unprecedented incursion by tax authorities.” The campaign’s website lists several key concerns surrounding what the media has recently nicknamed the “Britcoin”.
The group believes that a CBDC would be immensely detrimental to privacy as “every personal transaction would be recorded on a central ledger”, and could endanger the entire financial ecosystem as it would make it susceptible to hacking. They also believe that the digital pound could fundamentally change taxation and reduce regulatory oversight.
Concerns over the implications CBDCs could have on privacy have been raised multiple times over the years. Last summer, the European Central Bank warned that a digital Euro would not offer the same anonymity as cash. Furthermore, a successful action in late 2021 that saw Chinese police catch scammers thanks to the increased government oversight provided by the digital Yuan highlighted the danger that a central-bank digital currency could help countries keep a close eye on their citizens.
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UK Actively Exploring a Digital Pund
The United Kingdom has been exploring a possible introduction of the digital pound since at least early 2020, and the country has been increasing its pace since the start of 2023. In late January, a LinkedIn post revealed that HM Treasury, the UK government’s economic and finance ministry, is actively seeking to hire a head of CBDC.
Around the same time, however, Andrew Griffith, UK’s Financial Services Minister, signaled that the ramped-up efforts to set up the infrastructure for the digital pound, and while the UK Treasury recently revealed a roadmap for the “Britcoin”, the introduction of the CBDC’s is not likely to happen soon. According to the Minister, Britain’s priority is to get the design right and the country isn’t in a rush to launch the national digital currency.
The UK is far from the only country actively working on a national digital currency. Already in 2020, the Bahamas launched its CBDC, and the island nation was quickly followed by Nigeria’s e-Naira and by China’s digital Yuan. More recently, the Bank of Spain greenlit a project it hopes will become the core of the planned digital Euro.
Do you think CBDCs pose a major threat to privacy? Let us know in the comments below.