Boston Fed, MIT to release digital dollar prototypes as soon as July

Researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will unveil prototype central bank digital currency systems as early as July, according to a new report from Bloomberg.

The researchers, whose collaboration was announced in August 2020, have been “developing prototypes for a digital dollar platform,” according to Bloomberg. 


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James Cunha, who leads the project for the Boston Fed, said that the team will unveil at least two platforms capable of moving, storing, and settling digital dollar transactions. He declined to say whether any of them use blockchain technology.

Last month, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell told the House Financial Services Committee that 2021 would be “an important year” for the digital dollar in that the central bank would be engaging a lot more on the issue with the public.

Cunha said the research at the Boston Fed is meant to demonstrate what’s possible. The bank is not advocating for a specific policy. “We think it’s important that we not wait for the policy debate because then we’ll be a year or so behind,” Cunha told Bloomberg.

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Mike is a Senior Editor at The Block. Previously he was a senior reporter at MIT Technology Review, where he covered a range of topics from solar cells to smart contracts.