5 British pounds bills and golden bitcoins

UK on the hunt for CBDC lead as it ramps up digital pound efforts

The United Kingdom is seeking to ramp up its digital pound development and is on the hunt for a new Head of Central Bank Digital Currency.

In a new job posting this week, His Majesty’s Treasury announced that the successful applicant would be responsible for its work on a digital pound. The Treasury has been working on the CBDC in collaboration with the Bank of England (BoE). The successful candidate “will be responsible for setting strategic direction within Treasury to deliver on that plan.”

The U.K. is one of several countries exploring a CBDC as it contends with the decline of cash payments. A digital pound would give the country an innovative digital payments system that can compete with the rise in digital assets and other forms of private sector payments.

However, like most of its peers, the BoE hasn’t committed to developing or issuing a digital currency. It’s currently only exploring the feasibility of a digital pound, including redeemability, security, and efficiency.

The successful candidate for the Treasury role will lead the growing CBDC team, analyze CBDC policy issues to advise government ministers, and work closely with other local and global stakeholders on the project.

The U.K.’s CBDC efforts have been met with skepticism from some who question its need. This includes the reigning BoE Governor Andrew Bailey, who, a week ago, claimed he sees no need for a digital pound as most of the U.K.’s payments are already digitalized.

Danny Scott, CEO of U.K. wallet and exchange CoinCorner, also questioned the CBDC, describing it as a “hype that will come and go.”

“From an end-consumer perspective, the pound is mostly digital these days regardless of the mechanism used. So, once they have finished their exploratory stages, I would love to see a list of the benefits and new features a CBDC will bring to the public,” Scott told one outlet.

This skepticism has done little to slow down the European Central Bank, which has been working on a digital euro. Recently, ECB board member Fabio Panetta appeared before European lawmakers, addressing common concerns about the digital euro such as user data privacy.

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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