The Bank of England (BoE) has posted a request for applicants for a contracted service to create a proof of concept (PoC) digital wallet for a central bank digital currency (CBDC).
The central bank is offering a £200,000 contract to successful bidders for the five-month project, according to an advertisement posted on the Government’s Digital Marketplace website.
The BoE has been investigating the potential for a digital pound, similar to many other central banks worldwide.
Although it is not yet fully committed to the issuance of a digital pound, it has so far set up a working group with HM Treasury and issued a public consultation on the matter this year.
The aims of the PoC digital wallet for a CBDC include exploring the end-to-end user journey as a way to sharpen functional requirements for both the central bank and the private sector.
The BoE will not develop a user wallet itself; however, it may develop payment scheme rules, as the European Central Bank (ECB) plans to do.
It may also issue user experience guidelines for private-sector wallet providers, in addition to supporting core CBDC functionality via its ledger and application programme interface (API).
The BoE also wants the successful applicant to make the CBDC product more tangible for internal and external stakeholders, as a prototype for future user testing.
The successful applicant will need to support future exploration of further functionality, such as offline payments and know-your-customer (KYC) processes, and produce key deliverables such as a wallet mobile app and website.
They will also need to produce an example merchant website, and a back-end server for the mobile app and website.
Out of the problems to be solved, the BoE wants to look at how wallets can be loaded and unloaded with CBDCs, and whether payments can be made through methods such as QR codes and/or account ID.
Additionally, the BoE is keen for the successful applicant to solve issues such as Request to Pay and programmable conditional payments.
Stakeholders have until December 23 to apply for this contract. According to the job advertisement, there have so far been 15 incomplete applications, .
Stakeholders who do apply have until December 16 to ask questions about the contract.