British legislators, particularly members of the Treasury Select Committee, are advising caution in the potential rollout of a retail digital pound. While acknowledging the potential benefits of innovation, the committee urges the Bank of England (BoE) and Treasury to conduct a thorough assessment of the necessity, costs, and risks associated with introducing a retail digital pound. The committee’s report suggests implementing lower initial limits on the value of retail digital pounds to mitigate the risk of bank runs during market instability.
Privacy concerns are also addressed in the report, emphasizing the need to strictly limit the use of data by the government or the BoE. The proposal aims to protect user privacy and prevent unwarranted surveillance through the digitization of currency. The report suggests that any legislation introducing a digital pound should explicitly restrict the use of data acquired through the digital pound beyond sanctioned purposes for law enforcement.
Committee chair Harriett Baldwin emphasizes the importance of compelling evidence demonstrating the benefits of a retail digital pound to the UK economy without escalating risks or incurring unmanageable costs. She calls for a comprehensive evaluation of these factors before making a decision to integrate it into the financial system. While supporting the BoE’s ongoing design efforts, lawmakers stress the need for transparency regarding project costs, urging a concise cost-benefit analysis to ensure alignment with broader economic stability and financial inclusion goals.
In a related context, investment managers in the UK are receiving regulatory support to utilize blockchain technology for tokenizing funds, deviating from conventional record-keeping systems. The cautious approach from UK legislators underscores the significance of thorough evaluations and privacy considerations in the potential adoption of retail digital currency.
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