The Bank of England and HM Treasury have issued a joint statement regarding the potential development of a digital pound in the UK, stating that “no final decision has been made to pursue a digital pound.” However, they emphasize that work will continue during the design phase to explore its feasibility and potential design choices.
In response to a consultation launched in February 2023 to assess the viability of issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) to UK businesses and consumers, the Bank of England and HM Treasury have addressed key concerns regarding user privacy and control.
Despite receiving largely supportive feedback from approximately 50,000 respondents, concerns persisted regarding user privacy, financial control, and the impact of a CBDC issuance on access to cash.
In their consultation response, the Bank of England and HM Treasury underscored their commitment to prioritizing user privacy and control throughout the development of the proposed ‘Britcoin’ CBDC. They assured that neither the bank nor the UK government would have access or control over users’ personal data or their spending decisions regarding the digital coin.
The consultation response reflects a cautious approach to the potential implementation of a digital pound, with a strong emphasis on addressing stakeholder concerns and ensuring the protection of user privacy and financial autonomy.
As discussions surrounding the digital pound continue, stakeholders and policymakers will closely monitor developments in the design phase to assess the feasibility and implications of introducing a central bank digital currency in the UK.