A new cross-industry group called the Digital Financial Market Infrastructure (DFMI) Consortium has launched in the U.K. to focus on consulting and experimenting with alternative payment rails.
The DFMI Consortium includes commercial banks, payment providers, telecommunications providers, FinTechs, NFT ecosytems and digital currency exchanges, according to a Wednesday (Aug. 17) press release. Members include IBM, Finastra, FinClusive, Ibanera, paywith.glass, Mattereum, Trust Payments and Accomplish Financial, with Boston Consulting Group as its consulting partner, and supported by The Payments Association of the U.K.
The DFMI Consortium’s flagship initiative, Project New Era is set to begin piloting its Digital Sterling (dSterling) this fall.
The group will focus on real-world testing to evaluate a future digital currency ecosystem, environment and economy that includes the coexistence of current forms of money, regulated digital assets (including cryptocurrencies and stablecoins) and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), starting in the U.K. with Project New Era.
With a number of global private companies now offering their own GBP-pegged stablecoins, such as Tether’s GBPT, and the Bank of England actively exploring the possibility of issuing a CBDC, the question of how these digital currencies may interoperate is of pressing concern for the future of trade in pounds.
These issues are not unique to the U.K.’s economy. Brunello Rosa, CEO and head of research at Rosa & Roubini Associates, said in the consortium announcement, “Currently, 105 countries (representing over 95 percent of global GDP) are exploring paths towards a CBDC, while 10 countries have now fully launched a digital currency.”
Rosa added, “The market continues to develop at a tremendous pace, with the British government having announced plans to make the UK a global crypto hub, the ECB declaring recently that CBDCs could be the ‘Holy Grail’ of cross-border payments, and the Fed exploring a digital dollar with increasing urgency.”
Kunal Jhanji, managing director and partner at Boston Consulting Group, added, “With the advent of DLT and blockchain technology, digital assets are ushering in a new era for money, with potentially transformative benefits for consumers, businesses, financial institutions and states.”
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