The United Kingdom’s central bank is ramping up its research into a central bank digital currency (CBDC) with the selection of a long list of banking and fintech experts to assist it.
On Thursday, the Bank of England announced the membership of its CBDC Engagement and Technology Forums and they include some big names in technology and finance including Google, Mastercard, Consensys — and even Spotify.
This week’s announcement is a signal that the central bank is taking its CBDC plans seriously. It stated that the Technology Forum draws resources from leading experts in the field of digital payments and cryptocurrencies.
“The Forum will help the bank to understand the technological challenges of designing, implementing and operating a CBDC.”
The Engagement Forum includes “senior stakeholders from industry, civil society, and academia,” that will assist the bank and Treasury to “understand the practical challenges of designing, implementing and operating a CBDC.”
Technology experts include PayPal’s blockchain and cryptocurrency chief technology officer, Edwin Aoki. Principal software engineer at Google, Will Drewry, joins him, as does CBDC and payments manager Matthieu Saint Olive from Ethereum software solutions firm ConsenSys.
The Technology Forum also includes executives and payments experts from Amazon Web Services, MasterCard, Visa, Stripe, IMB, R3 and music streaming platform Spotify.
The Engagement Forum is comprised of banking executives and business experts, including co-CEO of Global Banking and Markets at HSBC Georges Elhedery, Morgan Stanley's chief operating officer Arun Kohli, and Stephen Gilderdale, chief product officer at interbank communication standard SWIFT.
The Bank of England remains skeptical of cryptocurrencies, however, with its governor Andrew Bailey warning about the risks of trading cryptocurrencies in May, telling investors “buy them only if you’re prepared to lose all your money.”