The Bank of England said Wednesday that it has staffed up a pair of third-party working groups that will collectively provide input as the U.K. central bank pursues initiatives related to central bank digital currency (CBDC).
The central bank's published lists include notables from the neobank and payments worlds, as well as several companies associated with the crypto space. Specific members of note in either the Engagement Forum and Technology Forum include PayPal, Monzo, Starling, Checkout.com, ConsenSys, R3, Visa and Mastercard, among others.
Per the BoE's release, the purpose of the Engagement Forum is to "gather strategic input on policy considerations and functional requirements pertaining to CBDC." Conversely, the Technology Forum will "help the Bank to understand the technological challenges of designing, implementing and operating a CBDC."
Whether the Bank of England will definitively pursue a CBDC remains an unsettled question, though the central bank has indicated through staff statements and papers that the subject is being seriously weighed. This past spring, the BoE formed a task force with HM Treasury focused on CBDC.
In a sense, the new forums will serve as a way for the BoE to gather input from the types of companies and stakeholders that might one day serve as a private-sector ecosystem of sorts in support of it.
In May, Sir Jon Cunliffe, deputy governor of the Bank of England for stability, said that it “looks probable” that a U.K. CBDC would be launched, in the context of promoting the survival of so-called "public money" in the face of private competitors -- a nod to the notion that stablecoins could see broader use among the public.