UK plans for digital currency ‘under review’: central bank

The United Kingdom is working on plans that could lead to a digital currency, with the likelihood of adoption in a few years’ time, according to the head of the country’s central bank.

Governor of the Bank of England Andrew Bailey discussed the bank’s work around digital currency at a recent webinar, setting out his views on the relevance and practicalities of a digital currency for the U.K., Bloomberg reported.

Noting the impact a digital currency would have on existing payment infrastructure and society more generally, Bailey said the bank was keeping the process under review.

“We are looking at the question of, should we create a Bank of England digital currency. We’ll go on looking at it, as it does have huge implications on the nature of payments and society.”

Pressed on the timeline, Bailey said he envisaged that “in a few years time, we will be heading toward some sort of digital currency.”

The Bank of England is among other central banks globally in considering moves towards a digital currency. Counterparts across the E.U., the U.S. and China are already developing digital currencies at their own pace, with adoption expected over the coming years as countries develop the infrastructure to support new payment and money systems.

Bank of England chief cashier and director of notes Sarah John previously described researching digital currencies as “crucial” for central banks, saying she expected public and private sector interests to increasingly work together on developing digital currencies.

“It is absolutely right that central banks think about whether a public sector or private sector would be best to provide a digital currency going forward.”

The news is the latest confirmation of the central bank’s interest in a digital currency, which would ultimately be rolled out across business and consumer payments.

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