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Monday, Jun 14, 2021

Bank of England is looking into launching 'Britcoin'. But what is it?

What would the difference be between Britcoin cryptocurrency on your phone and sterling in your pocket?

The British government has asked its central bank to look into launching a digital currency to co-exist with Sterling, earning the nickname ‘Britcoin’.

So what would the difference be between Britcoin on your phone and pounds in your pocket?

"If you look at your (bank) notes, they’re backed by gilts. Digital currency will also be backed by an instrument that will be held at the central bank," said Haydn Jones, senior blockchain market specialist at PwC UK.

"The difference is that with a note, with a physical £5 note, you can’t do anything digitally with it. A digital version of sterling, because it’s written in code, we can attach conditions to payments: I can send something to you, but I can make it conditional on you doing something for me," he explained.

If it goes ahead, the idea would follow the Bahamas, Cambodia, and China into the world of digital currencies.

To find out why countries with well-established currencies are jumping onto the digital bandwagon, watch Tadhg’s explainer in the video player above.

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