Boston Fed Is Hiring New Director for CBDC Project

The organization is looking for a new head of product management for its central bank digital currency pilot program.

Jan 3, 2022 at 10:54 p.m. UTC
Updated Jan 4, 2022 at 8:13 p.m. UTC

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston is on the hunt for a new director of product management for Project Hamilton, its central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot program.

The director will work to “forward the Federal Reserve System’s efforts to build, manage and test software to further its understandings of digital currency … [and] continue our efforts to build a hypothetical general purpose digital currency,” according to an online job posting.

In partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Digital Currency Initiative, the Boston Fed has been researching CBDC technology since August 2020.

The project was initially slated to run two to three years. In September, Boston Fed senior vice president Jim Cunha said the project’s initial stages were “basically done,” but the search for a new director signals that the work isn’t over.

Alongside Project Hamilton, the Digital Dollar Project – led by former Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Christopher Giancarlo – is a private-sector effort to promote a U.S. CBDC.

The Digital Dollar Project recently hired a new executive to lead its upcoming CBDC pilot programs. In October, Jennifer Brooks Lassiter – a founding member of the Innovation Lab at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) – was appointed as the project’s executive director.

Lassiter told CoinDesk that she sees the expansion of Project Hamilton as an encouraging sign for CBDC research in the United States.

“We are on the path towards an intentional, thoughtful process for consideration of a U.S. CBDC,” Lassiter said.

But progress is slow going, especially when compared with the research and implementation of CBDCs outside of the United States, and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has been reticent about the Fed’s stance on whether it intends to issue a CBDC.

As private stablecoins like tether and USD Coin continue to grow in popularity, many on Capitol Hill have raised concerns about their financial backing. Others have expressed doubts about whether private stablecoins and CBDCs can coexist.

UPDATE (Jan. 4, 15:24 UTC): Added more detail about the Digital Dollar Project and comment from Lassiter.

UPDATE (Jan. 4, 16:01 UTC): Clarified description of Digital Dollar Project.

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Cheyenne Ligon is a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She has no significant crypto holdings.