While nations around the globe continue to kickstart their CBDC efforts, a Bank of England official recently noted that developing a retail wallet for the digital Pound is “highly unlikely.”
CBDC Remains a Topic of Contention
According to a recent report by The Block, a senior manager at the Bank of England cleared the air on the UK’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) saying that the banking giant is “highly unlikely” to develop a CBDC wallet for retail use.
Barring China, CBDC efforts around the world have lacked steam.
To date, several nations have expressed interest in launching a sovereign digital currency that will solely function under the nation’s central bank. This will not only give the incumbent ruling authority to control the nation’s monetary policies more efficiently but also help them keep a close eye on the movement of cash within the economy.
However, the close tracking of cash within the monetary system hasn’t sat well with individuals concerned about its perceived risks for personal privacy. Those from the anti-CBDC camp argue that a digital sovereign currency would spell disaster for personal privacy as every individual’s financial transactions and history would be visible to the government at any given time.
As a result, except for China, the world continues to remain split on the potential benefits of a CBDC.
No Retail Wallet Plans for the Bank of England
As for the UK, it seems that a decision on the potential launch of a CBDC wallet has likely been reached.
Per Katie Fortune, a senior manager in the Bank of England’s CBDC unit:
“I think it’s safe to say it’s highly unlikely that the Bank would issue a retail wallet.”
Fortune added that it is more likely that wallets that can support a British digital currency will be developed by the private sector closer to the launch of the CBDC.
While plans for the launch of a retail-facing CBDC wallet have likely been shelved for good, the launch of a British digital currency continues to be a question left unanswered. It’s worthy of note that the Bank of England is poised to publish a consultation paper on the potential benefits of launching a CBDC.
CBDC Developments Elsewhere
CBDC developments have been picking up steam in Asia.
China continues to lead the CBDC race after already having conducted numerous CBDC pilots in various provinces and cities across the country.
Similarly, South Korea and Japan have ramped up their research on the pros and cons of issuing a CBDC.
In October last year, crypto.news reported that an executive of the Bank of Japan, said that Japan’s proposed CBDC will likely follow a simple design to ensure it can work alongside existing private payment services.
Similarly, last year the Bank of Korea published a book detailing the legal issues associated with CBDCs. In the book, the central bank made an argument for significant legislative amendments to develop a conducive environment for sovereign digital currencies.
Earlier this year, the Bank of Korea announced it had successfully completed the first phase of its two-phase CBDC pilot.