BOE’s Effort to Beef Up Digital-Currency Research Hits Bump

  • Economist to drive study of central bank-issued digital money
  • Job advert reposted after BOE didn’t find right candidate

The Bank of England’s effort to stay at the vanguard of digital-money has hit a bump, as it struggles to find people to spearhead its research.

QuickTake Bitcoin and the Blockchain

After failing in the summer to find someone to head up investigating the potential for a virtual central-bank currency -- one of the institution’s main study initiatives -- the job ad was posted again this week with a closing date of Sept. 15. The fresh search suggests that as global central banks become increasingly interested in blockchain and financial technology, experts capable of exploring the topic may be scarce.

Cryptocurrencies have moved up the agenda this year, with BOE Governor Mark Carney saying fintech has the potential to foment a “revolution” in finance. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has also addressed the topic, while the People’s Bank of China is pursuing its own blockchain initiative.

BOE Chief Economist Andy Haldane has said developments in digital currencies raise questions around the very future of money, suggesting the research team overseeing it would play a prominent role in enabling the central bank to strengthen its defenses against cyber attack and overhaul the way payments are made between institutions and consumers.

“The work will consider whether there is a rationale for the bank to issue a central bank digital currency which will include an assessment of risks posed by alternative digital currencies,” according to the job posting. “The job holder will also be responsible for drawing conclusions from the research on the impact of a central bank digital currency on monetary and financial stability and making policy recommendations to governors.”

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