In an event that was streamed live on November 24, Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey together with deputy governor for financial stability Sir Jon Cunliffe answered many questions from legislators from the Economic Affairs Committee.
When they were asked about the growth of innovation surrounding the digital currencies in the nation, Sir Cunliffe stated:
“It’s quite difficult to predict how innovators will take the money and actually use money going forward. But we are starting to see programmable money being used in the crypto world. And I would expect we would see a similar revolution in the functionality of money driven by technology.”
Today, the Bank of England estimates that 20% of the retail and consumer deposits may possibly move towards central bank digital currencies (CBDC). In that context, the bank is exploring options to implement a digital pound CBDC for retail payments. There is a task force behind the CBDC, which is also investigating the use of a digital pound for the distribution of pensions, payrolls, and much more.
In supporting that initiative, Sir Cunliffe said that the use of cash is rapidly decreasing in the United Kingdom. This scenario has hugely accelerated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that discouraged the use of cash and physical contact in transactions. Around 30% of transactions in the nation now happen through e-commerce.
When asked about the possible demand of a digital pound, Sir Cunliffe added:
“We’ve modeled a very prudent assumption, which is that basically 20% of [household and corporate transactional] deposits based in the banking system could move out of the banking system and into central bank digital money.”
Nonetheless, Sir Cunliffe confirmed that the current state of cryptocurrency affairs may possibly threaten the financial stability within the United Kingdom. The market cap on cryptos has spiked to over $2.6 trillion within a short time, with an estimated 95% of the digital assets being unbanked and 5% comprising of stablecoins.
Looking at the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean, the United States has less of a positive outlook. Regulators in the US say that regulated stablecoins designed by the private industry make the central bank digital currencies redundant.