The Bank of England (BoE) has dug its heels in and said it won’t be told what to do by any tech providers about what is and isn’t possible when designing a future central bank digital currency (CBDC).
Speaking briefly during Consensus: Distributed’s Future of Fiat Workshop, the BoE’s senior fintech specialist, Simon Scorer, underlined the U.K. central bank will not negotiate on its design principles with tech providers, should BoE ever move forward with developing a digital pound.
“We’re clear that any choice of technology around a CBDC should be led by a set of requirements and not the other way around,” Scorer said. “We would not let the choice of technology dictate the design; instead, what we would do is decide what functionality the CBDC requires, what our design principles are, and then we would choose what technology is most appropriate.”
Scorer’s presentation at Consensus: Distributed was a run-through of the bank’s CBDC discussion paper, which was published earlier this year, and therefore reiterated some of the proposed design principles of which industry observers had already been made aware.
The most notable is the idea that any provisional CBDC would be run as a public-private partnership that would provide citizens with a base-level of aspects to a digital currency without cutting out private initiatives such as libra and thus hampering competition.
But the key difference in today’s discussion, compared to previous ones, was the tone. Scorer made the BoE’s position on its design principles abundantly clear: There will be no compromise. Tech providers that want to work with the bank had better get their design pitch-perfect the first time around.