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Barclays Rise Hackathon To Test the Full Capabilities of Retail and Wholesale CBDCs

Barclays Rise, London’s primary fintech hub, is due to host an exciting opportunity for market participants across the industry to code and showcase solutions that explore the future of money, including a digital pound.

A central bank digital currency (CBDC) is, in a nutshell, a new type of currency, aiming to work in tandem with fiat currencies used worldwide. The main component of CBDCs which sets them apart is the fact they operate on a blockchain, creating a token of the country’s currency and recording all transactions of that token in an immutable way.

A technology that is still very much within its infancy, central banks from around the world, including Barclays, are actively testing the capabilities of CBDCs, including a series of experiments, proofs-of-concept and pilots.

The research is currently centred around both retail CBDCs for use by the general public and wholesale CBDCs for use by financial institutions.

Retail CBDCs provide consumers with a new form of public money that supplements existing public money such as notes and coins. Central banks’ motivations for issuing retail CBDCs include providing access to central bank money in a digital world, increasing payment diversity, encouraging financial inclusion and facilitating fiscal transfers.

There is currently a significant focus on how CBDCs are being designed to ensure that the risks associated with their adoption are mitigated while appropriate opportunities are seized.

One such risk is fragmentation in payments markets and retail deposits unless both existing and new forms of money are interoperable and have similar operational characteristics.

2021 analysis by PwC indicated that Europe is far ahead of the rest of the world in terms of CBDC development while identifying the UK as a regional leader in this space.

Thus, it is only fitting that as the centre of London’s fintech community, Barclays Rise hosts an event that explores its every possibility.

CBDC Hackathon 2022

The Barclays CBDC Hackathon 2022 will engage participants with a series of coding challenges that involve connecting to a Barclays simulation of both a central bank and commercial banks.

This simulation is expected to follow the Bank of England‘s platform model for retail UK CBDC provision, comprising a central bank operating a core ledger and providing access via application programming interfaces (APIs) to authorised and regulated payment interface providers (PIPs) that provide users with access to CBDCs.

Participants will also expand upon how industry ecosystems could be leveraged to solve these challenges across both existing and new forms of money, including both retail UK CBDC and commercial bank deposits.

Barclays is hosting the Hackathon in collaboration with Digital Asset, IBM and EY.

  • Digital Asset will provide participants with access to and technical assistance on the DAML platform
  • IBM will provide participants with access to and technical assistance on the Hyperledger Fabric platform
  • EY will be an independent observer and will publish a report after the event

The event will reportedly run over two days at Barclays Rise London on 27 and 28 September 2022, and a panel of judges will assess the solutions and prizes will be awarded.

Resources will be shared two weeks before the event, together with one initial challenge for participants to complete before the hackathon event.

Author

  • Tyler is a fintech journalist with specific interests in online banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

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