Bank of England unveils all-star payments and tech lineup for CBDC Forums

Executives and experts from Google, Amazon, PayPal and ConsenSys will be assisting Britain’s central bank with its CBDC research.

The United Kingdom’s central bank is ramping up its research into a central bank digital currency (CBDC) with the selection of a long list of banking and fintech experts to assist it.

On Sept. 29 the Bank of England announced the membership of its CBDC Engagement and Technology Forums and they include some big names in technology and finance including Google, Mastercard, Consensys — and even Spotify.

This week’s announcement is a signal that the central bank is taking its CBDC plans seriously. It stated that the Technology Forum draws resources from leading experts in the field of digital payments and cryptocurrencies.

“The Forum will help the bank to understand the technological challenges of designing, implementing and operating a CBDC.”

The Engagement Forum includes “senior stakeholders from industry, civil society, and academia,” that will assist the bank and Treasury to “understand the practical challenges of designing, implementing and operating a CBDC.”

Technology experts include PayPal’s blockchain and cryptocurrency Chief Technology Officer, Edwin Aoki. Principal Software Engineer at Google, Will Drewry, joins him as does CBDC and Payments Manager Matthieu Saint Olive from Ethereum software solutions firm ConsenSys.

The Technology Forum also includes executives and payments experts from Amazon Web Services, MasterCard, Visa, Stripe, IMB, R3, and music streaming platform Spotify.

The Engagement Forum is comprised of banking executives and business experts including co-CEO of Global Banking and Markets at HSBC, Georges Elhedery, Morgan Stanley’s COO Arun Kohli, and Stephen Gilderdale, Chief Product Officer at interbank communication standard SWIFT.

Related: UK chancellor names CBDC on list of financial reforms for Treasury

The Bank of England began tentatively researching CBDCs in November 2020 as reported by Cointelegraph. In April, the central bank posted a list of vacancies related to CBDC research and development.

It remains skeptical of cryptocurrencies however, with Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey warning about the risks of trading cryptocurrencies in May, telling investors “buy them only if you’re prepared to lose all your money.”