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UK Treasury recruiting digital currency leader

The UK government’s investigation into the merits of a central bank digital currency gathers pace at it looks for a team leader

The UK government is recruiting an individual to lead its growing team focused on a central bank digital currency.

The Treasury posted its search for a head of central bank digital currency (CBDC) on LinkedIn, with the successful candidate expected to manage multiple teams, including financial services, financial stability, economics and spending teams.

According to the job listing, candidates will require experience of “working in financial services or of public policy-making in a technical subject or highly regulated area”.

The role is being created at a time when the UK government is considering the introduction of a digital pound. 

“Today, the Bank of England issues only physical bank notes. A digital pound would be a new form of digital money for use by households and businesses issued directly by the Bank of England,” states the job advert.

The Treasury and the Bank of England are currently exploring the case for a digital pound through its CBDC Taskforce.

“Digital innovation is changing the landscape for payments and money. The use of physical money is declining while new forms of private sector digital money are emerging. These changes offer exciting opportunities for UK businesses and consumers, but also present new challenges and risks. This has motivated countries around the world to explore digital versions of central bank money,” added the listing.

The successful candidate, who will receive a salary of up to £66,500, will work closely with the Treasury, the Bank of England, the Cabinet Office, Number 10, and the wider government, as well as financial services regulators.

Central banks across the world are having to devise policies on the use of digital currencies, as consumers move away from cash as their main payment method. The pandemic accelerated the move to digital payments, which do not require as much physical contact and therefore reduce potential Covid-19 transmission.

Banks will need to create regulations to address a number of issues to ensure that society benefits from new ways of making payments. A Bank of England discussion paper, published in June 2021, stated that before new forms of digital money “could be used widely, there are issues around the safety of money and macroeconomic stability that need to be addressed”.

At the time of publishing its discussion paper, the UK central bank was calling for feedback on the use of cryptocurrency, including on potentially introducing its own.

Andrew Baily, governor of the Bank of England, said at the time: “The [Bank of England] has not yet made a decision on its detailed regulatory approach to stablecoins, or on whether to introduce a CBDC in the UK. These questions will need to be considered in consultation with the government.”

The Bank of England said the discussion paper was based on the premise that new forms of digital money have the potential to benefit society as a whole. “They could improve the way in which people transact with one another. And they could enable further innovation,” it added.

“Before society can realise potential benefits from new forms of digital money, it is essential that perspectives on these issues from a wide range of stakeholders are understood.”

Read more about digital currencies

  • The UK financial services regulator is calling for feedback from organisations, including tech firms, on the use of cryptocurrency.
  • Sweden’s central bank, Riksbank, has extended a project to build an understanding of how a digital currency might work, including what technology might underpin it.
  • Nordic developments within the digital currency domain have produced a landmark cross-border technology hub collaboration between Scandinavia’s four central banks and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

Read more on IT for financial services

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