MIT's Narula: Bitcoin jumpstarted the current conversation on central bank digital currency

The idea of wholly digital currencies isn't a new one, but it was bitcoin that added extra fuel to that long-running conversation, according to Neha Narula, director of MIT Digital Currency Initiative.

Her comments were included in The Block's new wide-ranging report on central bank digital currencies, which covers a range of R&D initiatives from around the world. In the report, Narula was asked about the "real opportunity" of CBDC, and at the outset, she pointed to bitcoin as a catalyst for the discussions happening today.

Narula was quoted as saying:

"We have the unique opportunity to design something that is like cash, for a digital context. Bitcoin kicked all of this off, which inspired the Bank of England to do some interesting writing on this. The idea of digital currency and e-money has been floating around for a while, but Bitcoin accelerated that conversation."

"Now we have an opportunity to decide what [digital cash] could look like — but there are a lot of different stakeholders with different views and wants. We don't yet know how this will turn out," she continued.

Narula also highlighted the work being done across the crypto landscape in this context.

"The crypto world is a laboratory to experiment with these ideas, but it's still small. The real win is bringing this technology into the real world and seeing what the interfaces look like," she noted. 

Read The Block's new report, A Global Look at Central Bank Digital Currencies, by clicking here