A House of Lords committee has recently been hearing evidence on blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies. Bitcoin has been a hot topic for several years now, but it's interesting to see how seriously government and big enterprises are now taking the underlying technology.
The core premise behind distributed ledger technology is appealing in many ways as the potential basis for an all-digital economy of the future. Benefits include improved visibility for central banks, efficient operation at scale and making it easier to move money around.
There are some significant barriers that will need to be overcome before such a fundamental change could be made, both with ledger technology and how we use and perceive money. How saving accounts, banks, tax and investments can work on a pure ledger currency is not yet clear. There will be huge opportunities for agile start-ups to disrupt incumbents in any sector that touches money.
The Bank of England's monetary policy advisor Ben Broadbent told the panel that an electronic central currency remains "a long way off," both due to technological barriers and the fact that it would involve major restructuring of the entire financial system.