Impact

The ‘Smart Money’ project will impact the research community, including academics and funding bodies. It will also impact organisations that would gain value from permissioned access to new sources of transactional data via digital ledgers. Its orientation, methods, and outcomes will be formatted to encourage inter- and multi-disciplinarity, allowing the exchange of methods, best practice, knowledge, background and stakeholder access. The project will help develop the concepts and capabilities that will underpin the design and use of distributed ledgers in digital currencies, and in particular, Central Bank issued Digital Currencies.

It may also benefit the following non-academic groups:

  1. Central banks , who are looking to create useful and usable digital currencies that allow them to more effectively manage the economies that they are charged with the governance of, giving them a tool to enact more precise and targeted monetary policy, and financial stability, while complying with legislation on money laundering. The exploration of the areas covered by the project will also provide opportunities here to support the shaping of CBiDC governance, regulation, legislation and policy arising from the exploratory systems developed and empirical evidence gathered from working with project stakeholders
  2. Commercial banks and other financial institutions, which will be able to use aggregated and anonymised transactional data sets under smart contracts within the governance framework to understand their customer base better (including ‘Know Your Customer’/KYC banking diligence regulations), enabling data-assisted forecasting and assessments of their own exposure to risk more effectively
  3. Government departments, which would have tools to explore levels of spending across different dimensions or categories, for example by citizen- spender segment or industry sector, or to assess and refine the economic effectiveness of policy or legislative impacts. The ONS and BoE’s joint ‘UK Flow of Funds’ project is a good example of this, with attempts underway to provide enhanced UK financial accounts that improve on the ‘quality, coverage and granularity’ of current reported survey data
  4. Citizen individuals, who would have access to new digital methods of transacting, but would also allow them to track or audit their own transactional activities, with the possibility of providing third- parties with non-bank (i.e. disintermediated) account access to provide financial services, for example to develop apps for digital wallets, provide tax advice, or personal transactional analytics
  5. Crime and security agencies (Police, HMRC, GCHQ, CESG, CPNI), who would have licensed access to financial activity (accessible only by judicial warrant to access individual records) that would be publicly examinable and transparent to ensure that they met legislative standards on personal privacy and related freedoms
  6. Economists, who will be able to develop new economic models and approaches with precision-targeted data on national economic activity, i.e. data that is content-rich, granular and segmentable, and directly collected, that will support inductive, rather than current deductive analytical approaches.

Together, these impacts will create a more trusted, resilient and stable financial system, increasing the potential value of transactional information services across the economy, helping grow the economy and benefit society as a whole.

Value

The value of a CBiDC lies in the information and intelligence gathered from consumer- level transactions which is the most efficient point for capturing data about payment patterns for forensic and predictive analytics.

This could be used to assist Government in policy and decision making as transactions can be interrogated and segmented in real-time, as well as burrowing down into the data to finely examine historic trends.

At the macro level, the system allows citizens to remain anonymous, which means there is compliance with the Data Protection Act, and would overcome the concerns of mass surveillance that arising from IPB (Investigatory Powers Bill) and other related activities.

This data can be used by central banks for economic forecasting and risk analysis, both at a national level, for example, to assess aggregate exposure to debt, or at an institutional (such as a bank) level, for example, to assess worrying levels of consumer debt.

It can also be used by the National Audit Office to directly assess the economic impacts of Government policy, by the ONS in examining patterns of spending, BEIS in fine-tuning business policy, and GCHQ in mining patterns of traffic for national security to protect citizen accounts.

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 the civil society groups find it to be socially acceptable are open research questions that we will explore.

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