UCL Faculty of Laws


In-person | Central Bank Digital Currencies - Domestic and Cross-border

13 May 2024, 5:30 pm–6:30 pm

Image of different crypto currency

This event is a UCL Centre for Ethics and Law Distinguished Lecture

Event Information

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UCL Laws

UCL Centre for Ethics and Law Distinguished Lecture. 
Central Bank Digital Currencies - Domestic and Cross-border

About this event

Retail digital currencies arguably have the potential to improve the speed and efficiency of monetary transfers and to broaden financial inclusion by facilitating payments among consumers on a day-to-day basis as an alternative to cash. Currently, there are two leading approaches: central bank-issued digital currencies (“CBDC”), and non-government-issued digital currencies that are backed by assets having intrinsic value (“stablecoins”). After distinguishing these approaches, this lecture will examine efforts to develop a retail CBDC that can be used domestically and across national borders. The lecture then will focus, more specifically, on the Bank of England’s efforts to develop such a CBDC known as the “digital pound.” In these contexts, it will attempt to compare what value a retail CBDC could add to today’s payment sector, which is already highly electronically based. Finally, the lecture will analyze how a retail CBDC broadly, and the digital pound more specifically, should be regulated and supervised.

About the Speaker

Steven L. Schwarcz is the Stanley A. Star Distinguished Professor of Law & Business at Duke University, founding director of Duke’s interdisciplinary Global Financial Markets Center, and Senior Fellow of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). See https://law.duke.edu/fac/schwarcz/. His areas of research and scholarship include insolvency and bankruptcy law, international finance, capital markets, systemic risk, corporate governance, and commercial law. He holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering (summa cum laude) and a Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School. Prior to joining Duke, he was a partner at two of the world’s leading law firms and taught on an adjunct basis at the Yale and Columbia Law Schools. He also helped to pioneer the field of asset securitization. Among other appointments, Schwarcz has been a Distinguished Visiting Professor at University College London (UCL) Faculty of Laws, the Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford, the MacCormick Fellow at The University of Edinburgh School of Law, and the Liberty Fellow at the University of Leeds School of Law.

About the Chair


The Hon Sir William (Bill) Blair is an expert in the field of banking and financial law and regulation, having practised as a QC (Queen's Counsel) at English bar, becoming a Judge in 2008. He was Judge in Charge of London's Commercial Court and a Judge of the Financial List established to try major financial cases until 2017.

On retiring from the bench, he joined 3VB Chambers in London from which he sits as an arbitrator. He has had LCIA, HKIAC, ICC and ICSID appointments as Chair, sole arbitrator and party-appointed arbitrator. He sits internationally as a judge in Qatar and in Hong Kong.

In the academic field, he is Professor of Financial Law and Ethics at Queen Mary University of London, visiting Professor at a number of Universities internationally, and a Fellow of the Oxford University Commercial Law Centre. He became an Honorary Senior Fellow of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law in 2020.

Sir William was the first President of the Board of Appeal of European Supervisory Authorities (a European Union body which brings together the EU banking, financial services and insurance regulators) from 2012-19. He is a member of London's Financial Markets Law Committee, the Monetary Law Committee of the International Law Association (of which he was Chair until 2021 now honorary Chair), and the Advisory Board and Panel of Experts of P.R.I.M.E. Finance of The Hague.

Sir William also chairs the Enforcement Decision Making Committee of the Bank of England, which is the UK's central bank. He is a member of the Ethics Committee of start-up funder Digital Catapult.

His current research interests include monetary law, fintech, financial crime, financial inclusion, and dispute resolution in China.  He has an interest in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and helped set up the unit at 3VB Chambers that offers pro bono advice to states and others including in relation to sovereign debt.

About the Centre

UCL's Centre for Ethics and Law promotes and enhances collaboration between corporates, practitioners, civil servants, academics and others around the broad themes of professional ethics and the ethics of risk. Subscribe to receive updates on the centre and similar events.

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