The Bank of England is considering the introduction of electronic banknotes for use by consumers and businesses.
Governor Mark Carney said: “We are in the middle of a revolution in payments,” saying the Bank must look into how electronic money could work.
He said this would complement, not replace, paper banknotes while people still wanted physical cash.
But it could open the door to programmable money to integrate with home appliances or the tax system.
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Banknotes have been the only way for households to make payments with central bank money for 300 years, a discussion paper published by the Bank says.
The total value of banknotes in the UK economy was close to an all-time high, but people had been making fewer payments in cash, the Bank said.
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