The Bank of England Museum’s upcoming exhibition, set to open on 28th February, will showcase the newly minted banknotes featuring King Charles III. This display marks the public’s first glimpse of the notes before they are circulated later in the year. Beyond the new banknotes, the exhibition, aptly titled ‘The Future of Money,’ will delve into various forward-looking financial themes, including the digital pound – a digital currency from the Bank of England.
The exhibit aims to provide insights into the evolving landscape of money, addressing topics like digital currencies, the declining use of cash, and the environmental impacts of banking. It will also demystify concepts such as Blockchain technology, cryptoassets like Bitcoin, and the growing influence of Artificial Intelligence in finance.
Data indicates a significant shift in the UK’s payment methods over the last decade, with cash transactions plummeting from 55% in 2011 to 15% in 2021, a trend further accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Bank predicts this number will fall to 6% by 2031. Despite the decline, the Bank emphasizes the ongoing importance of cash, noting that in 2022, 1.1 million UK residents lacked bank accounts and relied solely on cash transactions. Furthermore, it’s expected that numerous businesses will continue to operate on a cash-only basis for the foreseeable future.
Reflecting on the drastic changes in monetary transactions over the past century, from tangible coins to digital payments, Jennifer Adam, curator at the Bank of England Museum, highlights the exhibition’s role in educating the public about digital money management, considering our early experiences with physical cash, such as playing Monopoly. The exhibition promises to be an informative starting point for understanding the modern economy and the future of money.