A digital pound will enable the UK to maintain and grow its position as a global leader in finance and innovation, says one of the founding members of a group set up to drive its implementation.
The independent Digital Pound Foundation (DPF) was launched last month to look at research, advocacy and exploratory projects relating to the UK’s proposed CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) implementation and roll-out.
Coin Rivet spoke with the creator of Markets Evolution and one of the DPF’s original members – Jannah Patchay – about this project.
She stressed the main goal of the DPF was to act as a catalyst among stakeholders across the public and private sectors, including academia to explore and articulate the case for a well-conceived digital Pound.
“Beginning with a programme of research, advocacy and multi-stakeholder engagement, this will progress through to regulatory engagement and industry testing, via practical sandbox experiments, proofs-of-concept, and pilot work, as applicable,” Patchay explained.
When talking about the influence the virtual form of the pound could have on the UK economy and British society, Patchay said a digital Pound could deliver many benefits – both economic and social.
“A digital Pound will enable the UK’s successful transition to a digital economy,” she said.
“It will enable the UK to maintain and grow its position as a global leader in finance and innovation, especially when taken in combination with other technological developments such as AI/ML, the Internet of Things (IoT) and distributed ledger technology (DLT).
“It also underpins new digital-native financial products and services.”
Patchay further explains that a CBDC also has the potential to enable better policy delivery at both local and national levels by “improving the way that benefits are distributed, customs and tax is collected, and monetary policy is implemented”.
“And it can be used as a means of enabling greater financial inclusion for the unbanked and underbanked,” she added.
Speaking of the digital Pound as an improvement in people’s lives, Patchay said the benefits associated with the project have gained significant traction in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
DPF has a clear purpose and focus
She stressed this especially relates when speaking about the terms of the potential applications around financial inclusion, such as improved capabilities around government distributions and the implementation of public policy.
“A well-designed digital Pound ecosystem that encompasses principles of universal account access has the potential to enable greater financial inclusion, for example through the availability of accounts or wallets for customers that are excluded from conventional banking services,” she said.
“Greater financial inclusion, and more universal access to accounts, can generate wider social benefits and greater participation in the economy.”
Mentioning the Foundation’s independence from other crypto-related groups Patchay brought up the fact that the “DPF has a clear purpose and focus on the introduction of a digital Pound and a healthy ecosystem for digital money in the UK”.
“This gives us a distinct identity amongst industry groups,” she explained.
“We believe that there is a role to be played in the development of this digital money ecosystem in the UK, for an organisation that is independent and able to convene a wide range of stakeholders across the public and private sectors as well as academia, and other consumer and business-focused groups.”
The Foundation, which recently joined forces with Ripple, was launched in October by a core group of founding members as an independent forum to support the implementation of a well-designed digital Pound and digital money ecosystem.
Foundation and Associate members include Accenture, Avalanche, Billon Group, CGI, Electroneum, Quant and Ripple. Partners include Herbert Smith Freehills and The Realization Group. The originating team behind the concept of the Digital Pound Foundation include Jeremy Wilson, Jannah Patchay, Lee Schneider (Ava Labs), Victoria Thompson, Phil Kenworthy, Jim Ford and Melanie Budden.