Fact Check: Bank Of England NOT Issuing Digital Currency To Track People

Fact Check

  • de: Ioana Burtea
Fact Check: Bank Of England NOT Issuing Digital Currency To Track People No Tracking

Is the U.K. government, through the Bank of England, about to substitute digital currency aimed at monitoring people for physical money? No, that's not true: The Bank of England, like many central banks, is considering the use of a digital currency, but the idea is still in development. It is not intended to replace physical money, and it is not designed to track people.

The claim originated from a video (archived here) on TikTok by user @s0rins0rin on June 19, 2023, with a caption reading (translated into English by Lead Stories staff):

Romanians in the UK, beware! The UK government (Bank of England) wants to introduce the digital currency along with microchipping. Digital identity is coming to the UK!

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-06-20 at 15.08.45.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Jun 20 11:49:00 2023 UTC)

The Bank of England announced it is exploring the creation of its own digital pound, but that this is still in development and says it will not replace cash,

If we introduced it, it would not replace cash. We know being able to use cash is important for many people. That's why we will continue to issue it for as long as people want to keep using it.

The Bank of England also explains (under the question "Would the digital pounds be used to monitor what I do with my money?") it will not use the currency to track people:

the Bank of England and the government would not collect any of your personal data and wouldn't be able to see how you spent your money. You would access the digital pound through a virtual wallet and you would have to share some personal data with your wallet provider. This is because you would have a commercial relationship with your provider and they would require some form of ID in order to prevent financial crime or fraud. Your privacy would still be protected by data privacy regulations and your personal data would not be shared with the Bank or the government.

There has been talk about a payment chip implemented by tech companies like Walletmor, but this is a private business endeavor, not a government ruling to be applied to the whole population. Previous conspiracy theories about the U.K. microchipping its citizens have been debunked by fact checkers.

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  Ioana Burtea

Ioana Burtea has worked in journalism for 15 years. She started her career at Mediafax news agency in Bucharest and has written for DoR magazine for over seven years. Her collaborations include publications like Europe & Me, New Eastern Europe, Balkan Insight and Washington Post. Ioana published pieces on the justice system in Romania, social affairs, politics and personal essays. In 2018,  she became a fellow of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.  In 2021, she received the first prize in the Portrait category at the national Superscrieri journalism awards.

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