‘Britcoin’ won’t replace cash, assures Sunak

UK chancellor Rishi Sunak has said that if a central bank digital currency (CBDC) was implemented it would exist as a complement to cash and not serve as a replacement.

Sunak said that the government and the Bank of England had not yet made a decision on whether to introduce a CBDC into the UK.

The chancellor took to social media to address coverage over the weekend about the UK’s plan for a ‘Britcoin’ digital currency.

In a statement on LinkedIn, Sunak said that the government wants to ensure the UK is at the “cutting edge” of innovation and technology in financial services.

“…so it’s right that we explore the potential role of central bank digital currencies (CBDC) to understand the wide-ranging opportunities and challenges they could bring,” he wrote. “A CBDC would, potentially, be a new form of digital money issued by the Bank of England and for use by households and businesses. It would exist alongside cash and bank deposits.”

Earlier in the Spring the government launched a joint taskforce with the Bank of England to explore the case for introducing a Central Bank Digital Currency in the UK, along with two new forums to engage technical experts, and key stakeholders (including financial institutions, merchants, business users, and civil society groups) through the process.

In June, the Bank of England published a discussion paper setting out its emerging thoughts on new forms of digital money, including privately-sponsored ‘stablecoins’ as well as CBDC.

“But just as importantly, any potential UK CBDC would exist as a complement to cash and bank deposits, and not a replacement,” said the chancellor. “We know that cash remains vital for millions of people and are fully committed to ensuring people across the UK can continue to access it.”

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