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UK’s central bank extends CBDC consultation deadline

The Bank of England (BoE) has announced the extension of its public consultation for a central bank digital currency (CBDC) following an omission of a question regarding non-residents.

In an official statement, U.K.’s central bank confirmed the extension from June 7 to June 30 to allow citizens to submit their responses to the question of non-residents and the digital pound. The central bank is keen to receive comments on whether or not non-U.K. residents “should have access to the digital pound, on the same basis as UK residents.”

“This extension provides respondents (including those who have already submitted a form) with additional time to consider and respond,” the paper read.

Over 6 million U.K. citizens reside outside the country, and CBDC enthusiasts argue that many non-residents may wish to rely on the digital pound to make payments. However, it remains unclear if non-citizens outside the U.K. will have access to the digital pound, with the central bank remaining coy on cross-border transaction functionalities.

The original consultation paper was published on February 7 to obtain public opinion on launching a retail CBDC. The central bank shared its plan for a digital pound, saying it will be easily interchangeable with cash and other bank deposits.

Another hint the Bank of England gave regarding its retail CBDC is that it is mulling over making the digital pound non-programmable to “prevent restrictions.”

“The digital pound would maintain public access to retail central bank money and, as our lifestyles and the economy become ever more digital, it would also prompt innovation, choice, and efficiency in domestic payments,” said the Bank of England.

The banking regulator and HM Treasury hinted at a potential launch of the CBDC before the end of the decade, with both entities pushing for a slow-and-steady approach. Designed to complement cash, the Bank of England remarked that all digital pound experiments would adhere to the existing data protection and privacy principles.

Russia gives nod to non-resident CBDC use

Russia’s State Duma Committee on the Financial Market has proposed amendments to the bill guiding the introduction of a digital ruble. Per the announcement, non-residents will have unrestricted access to the digital ruble through foreign banks or via the central bank.

The first iteration of the bill suggested that only authorized banks would be able to offer CBDC services to non-residents. However, given Russia’s need for a digital ruble with cross-border functionalities, lawmakers deemed it necessary to recommend amendments to the bill.

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.

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