The Bank of England (BoE) and Britain’s finance ministry think the UK is likely to need to create a central bank digital currency (CBDC) later this decade, according to the Telegraph newspaper reported citing an unreleased government report.

“On the basis of our work to date, the BoE and Treasury judge that it is likely a digital pound will be needed in the future,” the Telegraph quoted BoE governor Andrew Bailey and finance minister Jeremy Hunt as saying in the joint report.

“It is too early to commit to build the infrastructure for one, but we are convinced that further preparatory work is justified,” the Telegraph quoted the report saying.

The BoE declined to comment on the Telegraph article, but said a joint consultation on CBDC issues would be published shortly.

A government source said the report would be published soon

BoE deputy governor Jon Cunliffe is due to give a speech tomorrow to update the finance industry on the BoE’s CBDC work.

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak asked the BoE to look into the case for a CBDC in 2021 when he was finance minister, and in October financial services minister Andrew Griffith said Britain could not avoid the issue indefinitely.

This will allow a wider range of businesses – and potentially individuals – to hold electronic money in accounts directly with the BoE, potentially cutting out banks which have this right at present.

The Bank of International Settlements, a forum for central banks, said in June that CBDCs are needed to modernise finance and ensure Big Tech does not take control of money. — Reuters


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