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Exploring the Potential of Tokenization in Finance: Bank of England Plans for the Future

Sir Jon Cunliffe, the deputy governor of the Bank of England, discussed the topic of tokenization at the Innovative Finance Global Summit in London on April 17.

The central bank is actively exploring the potential for tokenization in various forms of money, including bank money, non-bank money, and central bank money.

Cunliffe expressed interest in how tokenized assets will interact with existing financial systems.

Cunliffe acknowledged the potential benefits of stablecoins, stating that they could offer greater efficiency and functionality in payments. However, he also pointed out that current stablecoin offerings may not meet the necessary standards for robustness and uniformity, which the central bank applies to commercial bank money and existing payment systems.

The Bank of England plans to work with the Financial Conduct Authority on regulation following the passage of the Financial Services and Markets Bill:

Bank deposits that have been tokenized are a simpler concept compared to non-bank stablecoins and may offer better competition with non-bank payment coins. Nevertheless, regulatory concerns such as deposit insurance and Anti-Money Laundering measures remain, as deposit tokens would settle without central bank involvement.

If the current payment and money trends continue, it is likely that the UK will require a central bank digital currency, as a digital pound would function as a stabilizing force in the economy and provide innovators with access to a platform.

A mechanism could be developed to enable wholesale tokenized transactions to settle in central bank money, further enhancing financial stability.

Cunliffe also stated that upgrades currently being made could make it possible to synchronize tokenized transactions with the UK central bank’s real-time payment system. In addition, the United States Federal Reserve recently announced the creation of FedNow, a new instant payment system.

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