Barclays to host CBDC hackathon

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Original Source: Finextra

Speaking exclusively with Finextra, Barclays has announced it will host the ‘Barclays CBDC Hackathon 2022’ later this year, to promote the emergence of new technologies in large-scale banks.

The hackathon will run on the 27th and 28th of September, and will consist of a series of coding challenges that will simulate the use of central bank digital currency (CDBC) and commercial bank money.

With an increasing number of central banks and regulatory bodies exploring CBDC in both retail and wholesale settings, its potential to recalibrate global financial systems is becoming an unavoidable topic.

CBDCs are touted as presenting opportunities to improve faster payments, streamline transfers, and issue new, more resilience forms of public money.

In efforts to capture the possibilities that CBDCs present, central and commercial banks are looking to actively engage in the technology required to implement the currency. CBDCs are also considered appealing to consumers as they offer more stability and standardisation (especially when compared to the unregulated cryptocurrency industry) as they would be issued and supervised by government bodies and/or banks.

Teams of four will develop coding solutions to multiple challenges including connecting to Barclays simulation of central and commercial bank APIs. The tasks will be based on the Bank of England’s platform model for CBDC provision. Participants will be required to possess an adequate knowledge of coding and APIs, and undertake one pre-event challenge. The objective of the event is to explore the potential of CBDC in the future of payments and encourage engagement with new trends in the industry.

Lee Braine, managing director of the chief technology office at Barclays, adds: “Hackathons are a fantastic way for the industry to explore new ideas and emerging technologies, allowing participants to learn, collaborate, network and even compete. This event explores one of the hottest topics in banking – a new form of money known as central bank digital currency which has the potential to be a digital pound for the UK. We will provide a series of use case challenges that will involve participants connecting to a Barclays simulation of both a central bank and commercial banks, and a panel of industry judges will assess the solutions and prizes will be awarded.”

The increasing usage of CBDCs in the payments markets gives rise to the possibilities of risk and interoperability between cross-border banks. The hackathon aims to explore both the risks and solutions that emerge in the programmability of the currency which can be used to inform and improve it.

The banking giant will collaborate with Digital Asset, IBM, and EY to launch the event.

David Williams, banking and capital markets technology consulting at EY, commented: “EY is delighted to once again independently observe the Barclays hackathon. So much time and energy in banking is spent solving for the here and now, so carving out time to collaboratively explore important future topics such as CBDC, and in particular interoperability, is hugely important. It is through hands-on experimentation that the industry can best face into the real, practical challenges ahead.”

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