And the signal is clear.
Confirmed by several economic outlets, including Bloomberg, Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey took part in a VTALK with students mid-July 2020, for Speakers for Schools. And when the subject of digital currency came up, Bailey said: –
“We are looking at the question of, should we create a Bank of England digital currency. We’ll go on looking at it, as it does have huge implications on the nature of payments and society. I think in a few years’ time, we will be heading toward some sort of digital currency. The digital currency issue will be a very big issue. I hope it is because that means Corvid-19 will be behind us.”
The fact that BOE are looking into creating a CBDC is not new.
In response to Bailey, one could have asked why when Covid-19 is ‘behind us ‘ should that make the case for a CBDC stronger? In part, the answer lies within the narrative of life after the pandemic, which leads directly to the World Economic Forum and the ‘Great Reset‘ agenda. Part of the ‘Great Reset‘ agenda includes Blockchain, Financial and Monetary Systems and Digital Economy, plus New Value Creation.
If Bailey’s assertion is correct – that ‘in a few years time we will be heading toward some sort of digital currency,’ this would align perfectly with the BOE’s Real Time Gross Settlement renewal programme. This is taking place amidst the Bank for International Settlements ‘Innovation BIS 2025‘initiative, and this is the hub which brings all leading central banks together in the name of technological innovation. The RTGS ‘renewal ‘will allow for the bank’s payment system to ‘interface with new payment technologies’, which given the information that the BOE has so far disseminated, would likely include distributed ledger technology and blockchain.
For the bank to introduce a CBDC accessible to the public, they will require the reformation of their systems. Which is exactly what is happening.
The trend of digital payments outstripping cash has been present for several years now. instead of simply outlawing cash, the state will allow the use of banknotes to fall to the point that the servicing costs of maintaining the cash infrastructure outweigh the amount of cash still in circulation and being used for payment. They will take a gradual approach as opposed to prising cash away from the public. And from the perspective of the state, it is much more desirable if people are seen to have made the decision to stop using cash, rather than the state imposing it upon the population.
In late July 2020, it was also revealed that during the Covid-19 lockdown, over 7,000 ATM’s across the UK were closed due to social distancing measures. A representation of over 10% of the UK’s ATM network, and many of the ATM’s remain out of use, particularly at supermarkets and outside certain bank branches. Equally, some of these branches still remain closed four months after the lockdown was first introduced – and those that are currently open, are only allowing a minimum of two people at a time.
In April the BIS published a bulletin called, ‘Covid-19, cash, and the future of payments‘ where they stated:
“In the context of the current crisis, a CBDC would have to be designed allowing for access options for the unbanked and (contact-free) technical interfaces made suitable for the entire population. The pandemic may therefore put CBDCs in a sharper focus while highlighting the value of having access to a diverse means of payments, and the need for payments to be resilient against a broad range of threats.”
Do not be deceived into thinking that the BOE prescription for a digital monetary system, with CBDC’s at the center, is only coming to light because of the pandemic. This has been in the works for years.
By 2025 a global network of CBDC’s is a real possibility. The more people that turn away from using cash today, the easier the transition away from tangible assets will prove for those who are angling for it to happen.