The Bank of England (BoE) is inviting applications from companies on a sample wallet that could one day hold its central bank digital currency (CBDC).
The BoE has been conducting research on the viability of a digital pound for years now, although it has yet to commit to developing one. However, it has previously revealed that if it did develop its CBDC, it would not produce the wallet.
Its recent call for applications noted that “no work has been done on a Sample Wallet for a potential CBDC.”
Interested companies have until December 16 to submit any questions on the sample wallet and until December 23 to submit applications. The selected applicant will then have five months to deliver the wallet, with a possible one-month extension. The BoE has pledged £200,000 ($247,000) to the project.
The Proof of Concept (PoC) is in support of Project Rosalind, a project being undertaken by the Bank for International Settlements’ (BIS) Innovation Hub in London in partnership with the BoE. It aims to develop prototypes for a two-tier CBDC distribution model with central banks at the foundation of the system and private companies undertaking customer-facing activities such as wallet development.
With its wallet development project, the BoE seeks to “explore the end-to-end user journey as a way to sharpen functional requirements for both the Bank and private sector and make the CBDC product more tangible for internal and external stakeholders.”
While it won’t be involved in the wallet’s development, the central bank stated that it might step in to develop payment scheme rules and user experience guidelines.
The key deliverables will include a mobile wallet app on both Android and iOS, a wallet website, a merchant website, and a back-end server for mobile and website users.
Hunt revealed that the government intends to “bring forward a consultation in the coming weeks to explore the case for a central bank digital currency—a sovereign digital pound—and consult on a potential design.”
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