The financial world has spent much of 2016 co-opting Bitcoin’s Blockchain technology for commercial use, aiming to catch up to quantum leaps in efficiency and payment innovations used by Bitcoin’s digital currency. Now, the world’s leading central bank, the Federal Reserve of the United States, is going to investigate the future of monetary payment technology. This week, they have begun new studies for 2017 that will seek to understand advanced digital payment technologies, including “Fintech” and Bitcoin’s Blockchain technology.

“The review that began yesterday is the next step in the ongoing process to improve the speed and safety of payments in the United States,” said Gordon Werkema, Payments Strategy Director for the Federal Reserve System. "The ultimate goal of the Faster Payments Task Force is to help payment system stakeholders implement faster payment capabilities that are safe and ubiquitous.”

You may think this is the first time the Federal Reserve has taken a serious look at the merits of Blockchain technology, and you’d be incorrect. The Federal Reserve has been interested in these innovations for over a year and has spoken to IBM about a potential digital currency issuance of their own. China and other nations have also investigated or begun their own digital currency or Blockchain systems, and this could be a precursor to an updated American banking payment system in the future.

“The task force review process is designed to facilitate diverse stakeholder input for the benefit of potential operators of faster payments capabilities, end users of these systems, and the public at large. The goal of this process is to create broad adoption of these capabilities by consumers and businesses over the coming years,” added Sean Rodriguez, the Federal Reserve's Faster Payments Strategy Leader and chair of the Faster Payments Task Force.

This two-part study will look have two separate task forces consisting of almost 500 members who will be looking at making a faster payment system ubiquitous in one group and the other will focus on enhancing payment system security. There have already been 19 proposals created, and the first report should be completed by January 2017, while the second should be completed by “mid-year” of 2017.

"The Federal Reserve is extremely pleased with the level of enthusiasm and commitment demonstrated across both task forces as they continue to work to help develop faster payments capabilities for the United States," Rodriguez said.