Rishi Sunak took office as British prime minister today. The former finance minister is now the United Kingdom’s third leader in seven weeks, following the collapse of Boris Johnson’s scandal-plagued government and the light-speed implosion of Liz Truss. Sunak’s leadership was confirmed when he met King Charles III at Buckingham Palace and was invited to form a government by the new monarch, a ceremonial rubber-stamping act known as “kissing hands.”
Sunak’s rise bodes well for Britcoin, the much-heralded U.K.’s central bank-backed digital currency. Back in April, Sunak told a financial industry conference: “We’re launching a new taskforce between the Treasury and the Bank of England (BoE) to coordinate exploratory work on a potential central bank digital currency (CBDC).” Soon after, Sunak himself tweeted the single word “Britcoin” in reply to the finance ministry’s announcement of the taskforce.
A BoE-backed digital version of sterling would potentially fall short of allowing businesses and consumers to hold accounts directly with the bank; instead, the existing financial system would work as intermediary, in the same way physical money is managed today. If the U.K. follows through, it could be one of the first economies to do so. Currently, China is leading the way on CBDCs with the DCEP, while the U.S. and the European Central Bank have more tentative plans.
After Bitcoin’s demise, Britcoin is stepping up to the plate and soon might be taking over the finances of the sixth-largest economy in the world.