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BoE’s research unit likely to submit central bank digital currency report this year

A research group set up by the Bank of England is expected to submit its report on the prospect of the central bank digital currency in the next 12 months, according to The Telegraph.

The central bank has been looking into this concept since 2015. The digital currency would be pegged to sterling and, if approved, would dramatically revolutionize the banking industry.

A BoE spokesman told the media giant that the research unit was established in early 2015 and is expected to report back this year.

BoE Governor Mark Carney would prefer to restrict the use of the digital currency to the transactions between central banks.

“I have participated in discussions with the major central banks on this issue,” Carney told a Treasury Select Committee, adding that those meetings would resume in January 2018.

The BoE has been exploring the potential of blockchain, the technology that underpins digital currencies such as bitcoin, for digital transactions. It carried out a successful blockchain trial on the viability of making payments between two central banks last year.

“The underlying technology is actually of a fair bit of interest. We are working with it at the Bank of England,” Carney told the Treasury Select Committee. The “most interesting application that would be beneficial for financial stability and efficiency” would be using the ‘blockchain’ technology for ‘settlements’ between central banks and added: “We are on the case.”

More recently, Venezuela has revealed its plans to roll out its “Petro” cryptocurrency, which will be backed by the country’s oil, gas and mineral reserves.

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