Jon Cunliffe: The digital pound

Speech by Sir Jon Cunliffe, Deputy Governor for Financial Stability of the Bank of England, at UK Finance, London, 7 February 2023.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
08 February 2023

As some of you may have seen, the Bank of England and the Treasury have today published, as a Consultation Paper, the report of the Bank of England – HM Treasury Taskforce on the introduction in the UK of a central bank digital currency – a 'digital pound'. So I am grateful for the opportunity today to set out some of the thinking behind the report and the next steps we propose.

First, however, I should set out the headline conclusions of the Taskforce.

Our assessment is that on current trends it is likely that a retail, general purpose digital central bank currency - a digital pound - will be needed in the UK. This would be a new, digital form of money, issued by the Bank of England for use by households and businesses for everyday payments.

A digital pound would be a very substantial financial infrastructure project that would take several years to complete. It would, as many in this audience know, have major implications for the way we transact with each other and, more broadly, for the financial sector and the economy in general. The Taskforce's conclusion is that we are not yet at a point where a firm decision can be made to implement a digital pound.

However, in view of the likely need and the lead time to introduction, the Bank and The Treasury, will now proceed to the next stage of detailed policy and technical development of the digital pound - including the development of a technical blueprint.