The Smart Money project is exploring the data management, governance and social utility challenges concerned with how central banks, clearing banks and other stakeholders (Other Government Departments (OGDs), commercial financial institutions and citizens) can make effective use of Distributed Ledger (DL) enabled Central Bank issued Digital Currencies (CBiDCs). Central to this research is a governance framework which uses smart contracts to manage and police access rights to payment transaction data sets held on the DL for all certified and warranted stakeholders. Access to the content on the DL will be facilitated through a public key system, held by: individuals (allowing them to track or audit their own transactional activities), government agencies (allowing them to explore gross levels of spending across different dimensions or categories, such as by citizen-spender segment or industry sector), and the Ministry of Justice (accessible only by smart judicial warrant for crime and security agencies or OGDs to access individual records).
Our aim is to assess the feasibility of a how a fully auditable, tamper-proof, responsible smart governance system will make all stakeholders accountable for their data access and processing activities, whilst ensuring the protection of data and individual privacy. Moreover, access to rich payment transaction data will allow banks to perform economic forecasting and risk management in real-time and precision-targeting by patterns of spending.
This development has a huge potential value in offering tools for economic stability and resilience, both at a national level, e.g. to assess aggregate exposure to bank debt, or at an institutional level (such as within a bank), e.g. to assess worrying levels of consumer debt by customer group. It could also be used to directly assess the economic impacts of government policy, for example by the Office of National Statistics in examining patterns of spending, and GCHQ in mining patterns of financial traffic for national security.
Who to involve, how they would want this data made available for access, what the economic value and cost of running DL enabled CBiDC services is, and how citizens and civil society groups find it to be socially acceptable are all research questions being investigated. This will be conducted through research activities exploring how the financial architecture and models, information content and structure, and information presentation will impact on the value, use, interpretation, and application in forecasting of the financial and economic content available from the DL.
As outcomes, we will offer (i) insights and recommendations into the design of current and novel digital ledger infrastructures that are grounded in worked examples of use, (ii) evaluate their likely potential impact and relevancies and identify to whom these issues should be of concern to, and (iii) work alongside central bankers and end-users as stakeholders to ensure that design solutions meet their needs.