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Bank of England switching paper currency to polymer, not cryptocurrency

July 1, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: The Bank of England is removing paper money from circulation and moving over to the cryptocurrency financial system XRP.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: Partly false. The Bank of England is phasing out paper bank notes for longer-lasting polymer ones, The Associated Press has reported. It is not switching to XRP.

THE FACTS: The Bank of England is not switching its paper money to cryptocurrency, despite false claims that circulated widely on social media this week.

“Removing Paper Money,” read text alongside an image of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II posted to Instagram on Wednesday. “Bank of England Removing Paper Money and Moving to XRP Financial System By September 2022.”

The false claim also spread on YouTube, with a narrator urging people to invest in XRP and claiming that the Bank of England’s partnership with the consulting firm Accenture to create a payments network somehow indicated the bank would switch to XRP.

Accenture has worked with Ripple, the startup company that created the digital token XRP. However, that doesn’t indicate that the Bank of England will switch to cryptocurrency by 2022. The bank hasn’t published any information suggesting it will switch to XRP or any other digital currency, but it has said it will keep polymer bank notes in circulation beyond September 2022.

The Bank of England has announced that it is transitioning its bank notes from paper to polymer because the thin plastic is “stronger,” “more environmentally friendly,” “cleaner” and “harder to counterfeit” compared to paper.

It released a polymer 5-pound note, 10-pound note and 20-pound note between 2016 and 2020. The 50-pound note, celebrating World War II codebreaker Alan Turing, was unveiled last month.

The old paper 5-pound and 10-pound notes have already been withdrawn from circulation, while the paper 20-pound note and 50-pound note will no longer be legal tender after September 30, 2022, the bank said in a release.

Bank of England Press Officer Neil Kisserli confirmed in an email to the AP that the bank wasn’t switching to XRP, and that polymer notes will remain in circulation after September 2022.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536