The UK is considering the introduction of a ‘digital pound’.

Andrew Griffith, economic secretary to the Treasury, told fellow MPs on the UK Parliament Treasury Committee that there would be a lengthy runtime up to the introduction of a national central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Unlike cryptocurrencies, CBDCs are issued by a central bank. Physical money such as notes and coins are not produced; a so-called digital pound would only exist in electronic form.

The Bank of England says it is “looking carefully at how a UK central bank digital currency (CBDC) might work”, but adds: “We have not yet made the decision to introduce one.”

“I want to see us establish a regime, and this is within the FSMB (Financial Services and Markets Bill – currently being debated in Parliament) for the wholesale use for payment purposes of stablecoins,” Griffith told the Treasury Select Committee.

“It is right to seek to embrace potentially disruptive technologies, particularly when we have such a strong FinTech and financial sector.”

Describing the initiative as “a long lead-time activity”, he said a public consultation on a digital pound would be launched in coming weeks.

On regulation, he added: “We want the right regime, operated in the right way, that has the right balances in it.”

He committed to holding at least six roundtables with crypto industry figures to “expose us as regulators and decision makers”.

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Cryptocurrency shorts

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is to cut 950 jobs, about 20% of its global workforce, in a third round of layoffs in just 12 months.

Cosmos’s e-Money stablecoin project is to discontinue eEUR from March 6th. It said “the lack of real-world applications for blockchain has led to low demand for non-USD stablecoins… legislation is expected to hinder the scalability of Euro-backed stablecoins and limit business opportunities in the sector”. Users can swap their eEUR for certain digital assets – including USD Coin – up to the deadline.

Nikhil Wahi, the brother of a former Coinbase product manager, has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for wire fraud conspiracy charges.

Investment firm Albright Capital has voluntarily dismissed its fraud charges against the failed Terraform Labs and its executives including Do Kwon., one of the world’s top exchanges by volume, will delist Tether’s dollar-linked stablecoin, USDT, from its trading platform for users in Canada.

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Crypto prices

The overall market cap of the 22,200 coins is at $858 billion at the time of writing (8am UK), a 1% increase in the last 24 hours.

For round-ups of recent cryptocurrency news developments, click here.

For valuations of the top 100 coins by market cap in US dollars, plus 24-hour price change, see below.