In a document published Thursday, February 26, UK issuers argue that virtual currencies could revolutionize payments
What if central banks issued electronic currencies such as bitcoin? At first glance, the question may seem crazy, as sulphur-based digital currencies are so far removed from the polished realm of monetary institutions. However, the Bank of England (BoE) made this point in a document released on Thursday 26 February, which is not taboo and very serious.
Dubbed the “One Bank Research Agenda”, this aims to open up the institution to topics that could eventually change the way it works, such as demographic change or currency. private numbers. “Their appearance proves that value can be transferred securely without the need [through] a trusted third party,” the agency explained, arguing that the technology is promising.
In fact, traditional payment methods today are made through banks and intermediaries such as Mastercard, Visa, PayPal and Western Union. The agent whose electronic money can do it. “This could have far-reaching implications for the financial system,” the Bank of England said. Therefore, the question of whether central banks should use this technology is worth asking. »
In theory, they could indeed use the digital currency to manage interbank settlements, “or make it available to wider banks.” Even companies and individuals, like paper money in circulation today.
The BoE noted that the technology chosen should naturally allow central bankers to control the currency and prevent systemic attacks. Before asking a series of surprising questions, because they are specific: Will different central banks benefit from using a common platform to issue their digital currencies? Will monetary policy shift? How can traditional banks compete with such a system?
Incidentally, the sudden interest in such a subject by “Old Lady on Needle Street” was a small revolution. She is not alone. After the report was published, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne himself rejoiced on the social network Twitter: “It is good that the Bank of England is working on digital currencies – needs to ensure consumers take advantage of new technologies.”