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Bank of England seeks academic input for CBDC as it enters design phase

The Bank of England (BoE) is recruiting for a newly-formed academic advisors group for its central bank digital currency (CBDC).

A CBDC has been on the BoE’s agenda for years now, although it has stated several times that it hasn’t decided on whether it will develop one. However, it has been conducting feasibility studies for months to be ready if it ever decides to develop the digital currency.

BoE has now formed the CBDC Academic Advisory Group (AAG) to bring together experts in various fields as it moves on with its CBDC initiative. The experts will pitch in on policy, law, innovation, economics, competition, finance, industrial organization, and other issues relating to the digital currency.

The group, which will jointly run under the BoE and H.M. Treasury, will generate academic expert input on all things CBDC. It will offer the government a platform for knowledge exchange and research collaboration, BoE says.

“The AAG will encourage diverse ideas, open debate, and perspectives that challenge prevailing wisdom in relation to the digital pound.”

The group is likely a response to a call by BoE Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe in March for the U.K. to invest in CBDC expertise. Cunliffe said that while a digital pound presents a new payment frontier, the U.K. lacked the expertise to exploit the new opportunities.

BoE has also announced that it’s now moving onto the design phase of the digital currency. Sources within the central bank say this phase will run for the next two years.

“The objective of the design phase is to develop a comprehensive and conceptual architecture, and to carry out experimentation and proofs of concept, in collaboration with private sector innovators, to inform the development of our potential architecture and to build both the Bank’s and the private sector’s digital currency technology know-how,” the bank stated.

The BoE has stepped up its digital pound efforts in recent months. Tom Mutton, the head of the project, confirmed in July that the CBDC would be trialed on blockchain technology and multiple other ledgers.

To learn more about central bank digital currencies and some of the design decisions that need to be considered when creating and launching it, read nChain’s CBDC playbook.

CBDCs: The rules will apply, like it or not

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