A consortium of 6 of the world's largest banks, including Barclays and HSBC, are planning to use distributed ledger technology for their own digital currency. The "digital settlement coin" could potentially replace clearinghouses and other back-office plumbing. Because the digital coins will be backed by cash at the central bank, which cannot default, the tokens will not hold any credit risk.
Central banks from Beijing to Washington have a similar idea, and are investigating whether they can issue their own digital currencies. While bitcoin was developed to disintermediate such centralized monetary authorities, the Bank of England believes it could use the technical ideas behind it to impose more control over its currency and provide new ways to stimulate the economy. Far from making mainstream finance obsolete, right now blockchain and cryptoassets appear to be one of the industry’s preferred new inventions.